Turkey and Greece are prepping for a resumption of exploratory talks amid disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, according to an EU spokesperson.

In a Tuesday video meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and European Council head Charles Michel “discussed a resumption of direct Greek-Turkish exploratory talks. This will be further prepared on the advisor’s level,” EU spokesman Barend Leyts told reporters afterwards.

The three leaders discussed “various aspects of the bilateral relations between the EU and Turkey” ahead of an EU Council meeting, focusing on the recent tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s 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 in the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy reserves on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

In order to reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure the fair sharing of resources.

The EU also called for negotiations between the parties.

EU leaders will discuss the conflict as well as the bloc’s relations with Turkey during an extraordinary summit in Brussels scheduled for this week but postponed to Oct. 1-2, as a member of EU Council head Charles Michel’s security team tested positive for coronavirus and went into quarantine.

In order to prepare for the leaders’ meeting, the European Parliament will pass a resolution on the topic this week. 

*Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak

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