The situation in the eastern Mediterranean is tense: Turkey has once again extended the activities of the research ship Oruҫ Reis, and both states have announced military manoeuvres. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas left for Athens and Ankara this morning in order to talk to both sides. He firmly believes that:
Turkey and Greece are our NATO allies. The contentious issues surrounding the natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean can only be resolved in line with international law and through a sincere dialogue. The channels of communication between Greece and Turkey must now be enhanced rather than closed. In order to achieve that, we now need steps to finally reduce the tensions as well as the start of direct talks rather than renewed provocation. We want to do whatever we can to support this.
Settle the gas dispute
Germany and the entire European Union stand firmly in solidarity by Greece’s side. The priority now is to send rapid signals of de‑escalation and a sincere readiness to enter into dialogue from both sides. Because no‑one can have an interest in a military confrontation between NATO partners and neighbours. What is needed now is serious, solution-led talks on the basis of international law. This will not be easy, but it is the only way for the two sides to work sincerely towards solutions acceptable to them both.
Turkey also on the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers’ Gymnich meeting
During the last few months, Josep Borrell has conducted a crucial dialogue process with Turkey, which the German Government wholeheartedly backs. The EU Foreign Ministers also intend to talk fundamentally about their relations with Turkey at their informal meeting in Berlin on Thursday and Friday.