Erdogan urges Greece 'not to waste chance' for diplomacy

By: AFP      Published: 10:09 PM, 23 Sep, 2020
Erdogan urges Greece 'not to waste chance' for diplomacy

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he hoped Greece would not waste an opportunity for diplomacy a day after both sides said they were ready to start talks over tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, his office said. 

Turkey and fellow NATO member Greece are at loggerheads over energy search in disputed waters after Ankara stepped up hydrocarbon research activities in the sea. 

But they have expressed readiness to resume talks stalled since 2016 after EU heavyweight Germany's mediation to defuse a crisis. 

Erdogan told the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a videoconference that "Turkey has been in favour of dialogue for a solution to problems since the beginning" and hoped that Greece would "not waste the chance given to diplomacy" the presidency said.

Von der Leyen praised the "very useful exchange" with the Turkish president.

"I welcome the planned launch of talks with Greece, which are essential for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and for a constructive relationship with the EU," she tweeted. 

The talks are expected to resume soon in Istanbul but no precise date has been given. 

At the centre of the dispute is a Turkish research vessel deployed last month in the contested waters claimed by Greece

Turkey has pulled Oruc Reis back to shore for maintenance.