Erdoğan, NATO chief discuss East Med tensions in Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and  NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday discussed efforts to resolve differences between Turkey and Greece over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean in Ankara, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 

The hour-long meeting, which took place behind closed doors, also saw attendance from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, and Ambassador to NATO Basat Öztürk. Anadolu said.

A range of security issues were also discussed in the meeting, NATO Chief Stoltenberg said on Twitter.

“We discussed the military de-confliction mechanism developed at NATO for the eastern Mediterranean,’’ Stoltenberg said. “My firm hope is that this can create space for diplomatic efforts.’’

Last month, Turkey and Greece agreed to talks over disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean following German-led efforts to defuse a crisis that has raised fears of a full-blown conflict in the region.

The latest bout in tensions began in August when Turkey sent a research vessel accompanied by warships to disputed waters, prolonging the mission three times despite repeated calls from the EU and Greece to stop.

Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in the waters.