With tensions continuing in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey over oil and gas exploration rights NATO on Thursday announced a new initiative aimed at defusing the military standoff building up between the two countries. Both Greece and Turkey are long-standing members of NATO, and the alliance has played a mediating role between the two countries in the past.
A statement by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg issued on Thursday evening (3 September) said:
‘‘Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military de-confliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece and Turkey are valued Allies, and NATO is an important platform for consultations on all issues that affect our shared security. I remain in close touch with all concerned Allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of NATO solidarity.''
Ankara reacted positively to the announcement, but Athens gave a more lukewarm response saying there needs to be "a withdrawal of Turkish naval forces from Greek waters" before any discussions can take place.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: NATO headquarters, Brussels (archive picture)
They warn about the risk of destabilisation throughout the Caucasus and of a new humanitarian crisis.