Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Sept. 7 will meet with General Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, for discussions to calm down the tension between two NATO allies, Turkey and Greece, over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean. During the meeting, Akar emphasized that the NATO allies should act in the spirit of the alliance in resolving the conflicts concerning the eastern Mediterranean.
The meeting comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced an initiative to launch technical talks between Turkey and Greece to resolve tensions over the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey welcomes the NATO secretary general’s call for dialogue and Ankara favors an approach of all countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean to protect their rights in accordance with international law, Akar told the NATO official, according to a statement made by the Defense Ministry.
Ankara attaches importance to international law, bilateral agreements, dialogue and good neighborly relations regarding the solution of problems, Akar told Peach during their talks.
He emphasized the necessity of other countries to approach the issue in a sane and alliance spirit, read the statement.
Turkey is determined to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean, along with the rights of Turkish Cyprus, Akar said adding that Turkey has fulfilled its obligations to NATO to date and will continue to do so.
On Sept. 4, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey and Greece have started technical talks as a result of his initiative aiming to de-escalate tension in the eastern Mediterranean despite a denial from Greece.
The NATO chief stressed the talks aimed at reducing the risk of conflict or accidents amid military tensions between the allies over offshore energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. No agreement had been reached from the military-level talks, he said.
Despite denial by Athens, NATO officials insisted that the first talks between the two NA-TO allies took place on Sept. 3 in Brussels. “As long as we have so many ships in the eastern Mediterranean, we believe that there is a need to have technical talks on how to develop enhanced mechanisms for deconfliction,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “No agreement has been reached yet, but the talks have started.”
Hurriyet Daily News