In a phone call Tuesday, the Turkish and French presidents discussed the Eastern Mediterranean, bilateral ties, and relations between Ankara and the EU.

In a statement, Turkey’s Communications Directorate said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Turkey advocates dialogue and cooperation to solve problems.

Erdogan stressed that ignoring the legitimate rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean is the reason for the tension in the region.

He also noted that diplomatic opportunities should be utilized and sustainable negotiation processes implemented to reduce the tension, the statement added.

Ankara “wants to discuss and solve all problems on the table,” he said.

According to the statement, Erdogan expects a “constructive” attitude from Paris and favors consultation and communications between Turkey and France for the sake of a regular mechanism.

Erdogan added that it is important to see “constructive dialogue and cooperation” at next week’s EU Leaders Summit for possible solution of regional issues.

The meeting, originally set for this week, was postponed to Oct. 1-2 due to a coronavirus infection close to an EU official.

Trilateral meeting, regional tension

The Erdogan-Macron phone call comes after top leaders from Turkey, Germany, and the European Union held a video meeting on Tuesday focusing on the recent tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition to Erdogan, the trilateral meeting included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Charles Michel, head of the European Council.

Underlining his appreciation for Berlin’s mediation efforts, during the meeting Erdogan stressed the importance of holding a regional conference in the Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of all parties, including Turkish Cypriots, said Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece, with France’s support, has disputed Turkey’s 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, with military escort, to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region.

To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.

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