U.S. President Donald Trump urged the leaders of NATO allies Turkey and Greece in separate phone calls on Wednesday to step back from confrontation in the eastern Mediterranean and to “commit to dialogue.”
“President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said on Twitter.
The phone calls came amid high tensions between the two neighbouring countries due to disputes over natural gas exploration rights and maritime borders in the Mediterranean.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he had told Trump that Athens is ready for “significant de-escalation” in the eastern Mediterranean provided Turkey halts its “provocative actions,”
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he had told Trump in their call that Turkey proved with “concrete actions” that it wants to reduce tensions and establish dialogue, news agency
The calls with Trump came after Erdoğan had upped the ante earlier on Wednesday by that the country could confront Turkey, if it “wants to pay the price.”
“Turkey will take what is its right in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean and in the Black Sea,” Erdoğan said.
Also on Wednesday, it emerged from an open mic exchange in Berlin between the high representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell, and German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Erdoğan on Friday.