Greco-Turkish tensions in the eastern Mediterranean are worrying European leaders. The head of the Greek diplomacy, Nikos Dendias, is to meet, Friday, in Vienna, with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, within the framework of a diplomatic marathon undertaken by Athens to mobilize the international community on these tensions. "The talks will focus on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean given the escalation of Turkish provocation," said a brief statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry on Wednesday August 12th.
"We hope that logic will finally prevail among our neighbor (Turkey) so that an honest dialogue can begin," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday. "When there is such a concentration of military forces in a limited area, the danger of an accident threatens," he added in a statement.
The situation in the eastern Mediterranean is worrying. Turkey's unilateral decisions on oil exploration are causing tensions. These must end in order to allow a peaceful dialogue between neighboring countries and allies within NATO.- Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 12, 2020
Mike Pompeo's Mediterranean Tour
Mike Pompeo arrived in Prague on Tuesday, the start of a five-day tour of Central Europe, to discuss China and 5G in particular.
Nikos Dendias is also due to participate Friday from Vienna in the extraordinary meeting by videoconference of European Union (EU) foreign ministers, according to a ministerial statement.
Earlier Thursday, he is due to travel to Israel, a country bordering the eastern Mediterranean, for talks, according to the ministry.
The tense situation for weeks between Athens and Ankara deteriorated on Monday after Ankara deployed a seismic research vessel, escorted by military vessels, to the disputed south-eastern Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean and rich in gas fields.
According to Athens, the Turkish ships were on Wednesday 60 nautical miles south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, or on the Greek continental shelf, which constitutes a "violation" of maritime borders.
"We are not going to accept the fait accompli"
The Greek navy fleet is also present in the area to "monitor" Turkish activities, according to a source from the Ministry of Defense.
Mr. Mitsotakis assured that Greece would not seek to aggravate the tension, while warning "that no provocation would remain unanswered".
Nikos Dendias called for an extraordinary meeting of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council on Tuesday, hoping to pressure Turkey to withdraw from the region.
"We call on Turkey to leave the Greek continental shelf without delay (...) we are not going to accept a fait accompli," Nikos Dendias warned on Tuesday.
The extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers on Friday is devoted to the presidential election in Belarus but also to relations with Turkey and the situation in Lebanon.
The discovery of gas fields, a source of envy
The discovery in recent years of vast gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean has whetted the appetite of the riparian countries and heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece, neighboring countries and allies within NATO, whose relations are regularly punctuated by crises.
As a sign that current tensions could worsen further, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara would expand its gas research in the eastern Mediterranean.
Mike Pompeo will spend two days in the Czech Republic before going to Slovenia, Austria, then Poland, which will host some of the American troops leaving Germany.
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