Athens and Ankara’s dispute in the Mediterranean

Athens and Ankara's dispute in the Mediterranean

Greece and Turkein agree on a system to avoid incidents with NATO aid. That creates space for diplomacy in the gas dispute.

Against the background of the conflict over gas explorations in the Mediterranean Sea, Greece and Turkey have agreed on a mechanism for military conflict avoidance. As reported by NATO, the bilateral agreement came into force on Thursday after several weeks of negotiations and thus at the special EU summit. This is also about the question of possible EU sanctions against Turkey.

The mechanism now agreed should “reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean”. It also includes the creation of a “hotline” in order to more easily defuse conflicts in the sea and air space.

“I welcome the establishment of a mechanism to defuse military conflicts, which was achieved through the constructive commitment of Greece and Turkey (…),” commented NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He will stay “in close contact” with both NATO members.

The mechanism could help to create space for diplomatic efforts to resolve the underlying conflict.

Since the discovery of rich gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, there has been heated dispute over their exploitation. The EU members Greece and Cyprus as well as Turkey lay claim to the sea areas concerned.

Ankara and Athens also underpinned this by sending warships. This has raised concerns about military incidents between both sides in NATO and the EU.

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