ANKARA

Turkey supports an initiative on talks between military officials of Turkey and Greece, following the meeting between the Turkish president and NATO chief, the country’s defense minister said in the capital Ankara on Friday.

“After the meeting of Turkish President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] and NATO Secretary-General [Jens Stoltenberg], there is an initiative to start talks [on the Eastern Mediterranean] between the military officials [of Turkey and Greece], which we support,” Hulusi Akar said at a graduation ceremony at the National Defense University in Ankara.

France’s statements on the Eastern Mediterranean and Iraq “do not contribute to the spirit of the alliance, nor to peace or dialogue,” Akar said.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg announced that Turkey and Greece agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s current energy exploration in the region, 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 Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

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

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur.

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