Turkey’s doors wide open for diplomacy on east Med: Turkish FM

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has reiterated Turkey’s call for dialogue in the eastern Mediterranean, suggesting the Eastern Mediterranean Conference as a way to resolve regional disputes.

“Our preference is clear. Our door for dialogue is wide open,” the minister said, addressing the videoconference of the sixth Mediterranean Dialogue Forum organized by the Italian Foreign Ministry at the Institute for International Political Studies on Dec. 3.

“The Eastern Mediterranean Conference is a chance to establish a suitable environment for cooperation,” he said. “This is our proposal.

The Turkish ambassador in Brussels will have a meeting with the EU Commission on Dec. 3 on how to organize the Eastern Mediterranean Conference, he said, urging the EU to establish an inclusive platform for the resolution of the dispute.

“We expect the EU to change their game,” he said, asking the bloc to avoid the language of threat against Turkey.

Greece and the Greek Cypriots have formed alliances against Turkey and have tried to isolate Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots for the issues regarding the eastern Mediterranean, he said.

Çavuşoğlu also noted that Turkey has suspended the seismic research activities by its research vessel Oruç Reis in the region to give a chance to diplomacy.

The minister also said he would discuss with his French counterpart on Dec. 8, as Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has proposed a phone call to discuss bilateral issues.

NATO members Turkey and Greece have conflicting claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared in August when Ankara sent Oruç Reis to map out energy drilling prospects in waters also claimed by Greece.

Turkey’s research vessel Oruc Reis returned to the port in the province of southern Antalya after finishing seismic studies in the eastern Mediterranean, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara.

Hurriyet Daily News

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