Turkey, Greece reach understanding on ‘general principles’

Military de-confliction mechanism established between Greece, Turkey, NATO says

NATO said Thursday that a military de-confliction mechanism between Greece and Turkey for the Eastern Mediterranean disputes has been established.

Turkish and Greek military delegations reached a “common understanding on general principles” on the Eastern Mediterranean in meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Following a series of technical meetings between the military delegations of Greece and Turkey at NATO headquarters in Brussels, a bilateral military de-confliction mechanism was established, it said.

The mechanism is designed to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean and includes the creation of a hotline between Greece and Turkey to facilitate de-confliction at sea or in the air, it added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement: “I welcome the establishment of a military de-confliction mechanism, achieved through the constructive engagement of Greece and Turkey, both valued NATO Allies. This safety mechanism can help to create the space for diplomatic efforts to address the underlying dispute, and we stand ready to develop it further. I will remain in close contact with both Allies.”

Turkish and Greek military delegations have agreed on “general principles” in NATO talks, Turkey’s Defense Ministry also said following the NATO’s announcement.

Greece, with France’s support, has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent drill ships with a military escort to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the region.

To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.

The fifth round of technical talks between Turkish and Greek military delegations at NATO headquarters was held last week.

The sixth round of the talks was held Tuesday, according to the Turkish National Defense Ministry.

Held in Brussels, the talks were planned after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Stoltenberg last month.