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Home / World / France sends forces to the eastern Mediterranean to defuse tensions between Greece and Turkey

France sends forces to the eastern Mediterranean to defuse tensions between Greece and Turkey



Emmanuel Macron ordered French forces Thursday in the eastern Mediterranean, where tensions have risen between Greece and Turkey over disputed waters.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warmly welcomed the move, calling on Twitter that Macron was “a true friend of Greece and also an ardent defender of European values ​​and international law”.

In this photo provided by the Greek National Defense, a French helicopter carrier Tonnerre, the rear left is accompanied by Greek and French military ships during a naval exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, August 13, 2020.

In this photo provided by the Greek National Defense, a French helicopter carrier Tonnerre, the rear left is accompanied by Greek and French military ships during a naval exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, August 13, 2020.
(Greek National Defense through the AP)

Turkey, meanwhile, accused Greece and the island nation of Cyprus of violating its rights in the Mediterranean and vowed to protect its interests in the region – but also called for dialogue to resolve the dispute.

Turkey recently deployed a seismic research vessel, accompanied by warships, in the waters between Crete and Cyprus to search for offshore gas and oil.

Greece claims part of the area covers its continental shelf and has demanded that Turkish ships be withdrawn. Turkey has taken the position that it has the right to conduct research there. Greece put its army on alert and sent warships to the area off the southern coast of Turkey.

IRAN IS CAREFUL NOT TO INTERFERE IN THE SKOPJE OF THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT

In Ankara, and later in talks with European officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated a call for dialogue and negotiations to reach a favorable situation for the three countries that preserve the rights of each state at sea.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his party in Ankara, Turkey on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his party in Ankara, Turkey on Thursday, August 13, 2020.
(Turkish Presidency through AP)

“We have no plans for anyone’s rights, but we will not allow any country to take away our rights,” Erdogan said.

He also accused France of provoking Greece and Cyprus to take the wrong steps.

Macron announced late Wednesday that he decided to “temporarily strengthen the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean in the coming days, in co-operation with European partners including Greece.”

France, an ally of NATO and the European Union with Greece, is the EU’s largest military power. Complicating matters, Turkey – Greece’s historic regional rival – is also a NATO member but has weak relations with France.

In a televised statement Wednesday, Mitsotakis warned of the “risk of an accident” in the piece of sea where Greek and Turkish warships have gathered.

IRAN IS CAREFUL NOT TO INTERFERE IN THE SKOPJE OF THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT

“In such a case, the responsibility falls on the one who gives these circumstances,” he said. He added that Greece was not at all kind to “even the harshest dialogue”, but that “dialogue becomes irrelevant in a climate of tension and provocation”.

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The Greek Prime Minister vowed not to escalate the blockade at sea, but remained steadfast.

“However, restraint is only one aspect of our power,” Mitsotakis said. “No provocation will go unanswered.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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