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NATO 'committed' to negotiating between Turkey and Greece

December 2, 2020 at 3:34 pm

The flags of members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are seen at the Headquarter of NATO in Brussels, Belgium on 26 June 2020 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

NATO is committed to further strengthening the conflict resolution mechanism between Turkey and Greece to ease tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the organisation’s Secretary General said on Tuesday. Jens Stoltenberg made his comments during a news conference about the NATO 2030 project, Anadolu has reported.

Stoltenberg said that NATO wants to build better ties with between Greece and Turkey. “I’m committed to strengthening this mechanism further to build more comprehensive confidence-building measures.” he explained.

There has been a major rift between the two countries over drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the long-running Cyprus issue. Turkey has consistently contested efforts by EU members Greece and Cyprus to restrict its legitimate energy research in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Also on Tuesday, Turkey reaffirmed its readiness for dialogue with Greece following the return to port of the Turkish research vessel the Oruc Reis.

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“As is known, Turkey has been in favour of dialogue with Greece without preconditions since the beginning,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy in response to a question on possible talks after the Oruc Reis had returned to port.

In recent months, Turkey has sent several drilling ships to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).