During a visit to Athens, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Turkey to stop “provocations” in reference to Turkish drilling for gas in the eastern Mediterranean, which the European Union considers illegal.
Subsequently, the Greek government announced that it had urged an “objection operation” against Turkey over “the announcement of the excavation of part of the Greek continental shelf.”
“We call on Turkey to stop these activities that violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region,” a Greek Foreign Ministry statement included.
On Tuesday, Maas stressed that the strained relations with Ankara could improve if it stopped these provocations.
“On Turkish excavation in the eastern Mediterranean, we have a very clear position … international law must be respected,” Maas said.
“So progress in EU relations with Turkey will be possible only if Ankara stops provocations in the eastern Mediterranean”.
He also added that Turkish exploration off the coast of Cyprus must end.
The EU expressed its dissatisfaction with what it considers an illegal Turkish exploration of gas off the coast of Cyprus.
On Monday, the Egyptian Parliament authorized its armed forces to carry out “combat missions” abroad, allowing for possible military intervention in Libya, a move that Maas believed would “escalate” matters.
Some European circles are demanding that Turkey be sanctioned for its agressive actions.
EU high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell traveled to Turkey last week, where he stressed the need to defuse tension through dialogue.
Maas, on Tuesday, stressed the “importance” of keeping channels of dialogue open with Turkey, the “strategically important” country in relation to NATO and migration issues.
Germany, which assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union on 1 July, places migration as its top priority.
“We want a united European response to the migration issue,” Maas said.
In February, President Erdogan announced the opening of the border with Greece, allowing thousands of refugees to cross the border between the two countries.