The NATO chief on Wednesday called for dialogue to ease tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Turkey and Greece have both been important NATO allies for many years. We need to find a way to resolve the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean based on the spirit of allied solidarity,” Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of the EU defense ministers’ informal meeting in Berlin.

The meeting will discuss the latest situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Mali and Belarus.

It is the first time since March that EU defense ministers are meeting in person amid the coronavirus.

EU foreign affairs ministers will continue the discussion on Thursday and Friday on the same topics, as well as on the bloc’s Russia strategy and the geopolitical implications of the coronavirus.

A senior EU official told Anadolu Agency the ministers will only consider different foreign policy actions as a response to the crises in Belarus and the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Sanctions will not be decided” at the conference, he stressed.

The informal ministerial meetings in Berlin are hosted by the German presidency of the European Council.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Dialogue for fair sharing of these resources will be win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

During a meeting yesterday with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas seeking to meditate the Mediterranean dispute, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue, but also objected to Greek lawlessness and raising tensions in the region.

Turkey has also called foul on Athens seeking EU support for blocking Ankara’s legitimate energy exploration.

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