Source: Arabic.Net – Agencies
On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Haikou Maas from Greece confirmed that strained relations with Turkey could improve if Ankara stopped “provocations”, in reference to Turkish gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, What the European Union considers illegal.
“With regard to Turkish drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, we have a very clear position … international law must be respected. So progress in European Union relations with Turkey will be possible only if Ankara stops provocations in the eastern Mediterranean,” Mas said during a visit to Athens.
He stressed that Turkish exploration off the coast of Cyprus must stop.
The European Union has expressed its dissatisfaction with the illegal Turkish exploration of oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus, in addition to Ankaras moves to support the government of reconciliation in Libya and the accusations against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of undermining freedoms and democracy in Turkey. Erdogan’s decision to convert the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul to a mosque was another reason for the tension between the two parties.
Some European circles are demanding that Turkey be punished for some or all of these differences, but European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who traveled to Turkey last week where he held talks with Turkish ministers, stressed the need to defuse tension through dialogue.
Mas Tuesday stressed the “importance” of keeping channels of dialogue open with Turkey, the “strategically important” country regarding NATO and immigration issues.
Germany, which took over the European Union’s rotating presidency on July 1, Immigration is a top priority. In this context, Maas said, “We want a united European response to the immigration issue.”
In February, Erdogan announced the opening of the border with Greece, causing tens of thousands of refugees to flow over the border between the two countries.
Diamonds met in Athens today with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dundas, as well as with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Katrina Sakylaropoulou.
Greece hopes that Germany will use its influence with Turkey to press for progress in European-Turkish negotiations.
Earlier this month, Germany hosted unannounced talks with Greek and Turkish officials to try to resume the talks.
Greece is pressing other member states In the European Union to prepare tough sanctions against Turkey if it continues to implement its plans for oil and gas exploration, which is expected to start next September, according to the Turkish state oil company TPO.