Turkey affirmed its adherence to its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, and renewed its call for dialogue to defuse the escalating conflict, while the European Union announced its support for Greece and Cyprus in their dispute with Ankara over energy resources there.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said today, Saturday, commenting on a statement issued yesterday at the conclusion of an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers; The European Union should direct the call for dialogue and negotiation to those that take unilateral and provocative steps in the eastern Mediterranean, not to Turkey.

The ministry added - in a tweet via Twitter - that Turkey supports dialogue and negotiation and is determined to protect its legitimate rights and interests, accusing other parties of not respecting the rights and interests of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.

The European Union’s High Commissioner for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell said that European foreign ministers agreed in their emergency meeting yesterday via video technology to stand by Greece and Cyprus in the dispute over exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, after Turkey sent ships there to conduct surveys related to gas exploration. On the coast of Northern Cyprus.

However, European ministers called on the other hand for dialogue to overcome the tension in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey on the one hand and Greece and Cyprus, which are supported by France, Egypt and Israel on the other hand.

A statement issued by the emergency meeting said that the demarcation of maritime borders and the utilization of resources can only be resolved through dialogue and negotiation within the framework of goodwill, good-neighborly relations and international law.

The conflict became more intense after Egypt and Greece recently signed an agreement to demarcate the maritime borders, in response to a similar agreement signed by Turkey and the Libyan Government of National Accord late last year.

De-escalation and
calls for calm from several western capitals, after the eastern Mediterranean region witnessed in the past few days tensions after Turkey sent the survey ship "Aruj Reis", and France deployed a warship and two Rafale aircraft, which prompted the Greek prime minister to warn of a military clash.

Tensions escalated last Wednesday after a light collision occurred between the Turkish survey ship and a Greek ship, and about two months before that, France spoke of the Turkish navy's harassment of one of its ships there, but it failed to provide any evidence of this.

Ankara described the new incident as a provocation, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that any attack on the ship "Oruj Reis" will not pass without a response.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday that his country had agreed in principle to Switzerland's offer to mediate in resolving the conflict with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean.

In statements he made during his visit to Switzerland, Cavusoglu called on Athens to act rationally, and also called on the European Union to stop "spoiling" Greece.

The Turkish minister said that Paris should stop taking measures to exacerbate tension in the eastern Mediterranean, warning in turn that any Greek provocation of the Turkish survey ship will face a response.

In Washington, the White House announced that US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron expressed their concern over the Turkish-Greek tension yesterday, and agreed on the necessity of Ankara and Athens commitment to dialogue as the only way to resolve their differences.

Simultaneously, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin discussed during a phone call with US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien the current tension between his country, Greece, Cyprus and their supporters, and Kallan confirmed that Ankara supports solving problems in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean through peace and negotiation within the framework of international law.