Top Turkish, Italian diplomats discuss Libya, east Med
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey's foreign minister held a phone conversation with his Italian counterpart on Sept. 11, according to the diplomatic sources.
Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. French President Emmanuel Macron has interceded in support of Athens, despite lacking any Eastern Mediterranean coastline.
Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.
In order to reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of resources.
Libya’s Government of National Accord, founded in 2015 under a U.N.-led agreement in the wake of the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has faced a number of challenges, including attacks by warlord Khalifa Haftar.
In recent months, however, it has turned the tide against Haftar's forces.
Turkey supports the internationally recognized government based in the capital Tripoli and a non-military resolution of the crisis.
Turkish president, Spanish premier speak over phone
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke over the phone with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, according to Turkey’s Communications Directorate on Sept. 11.
Erdoğan and Sanchez discussed regional developments as well as ways to boost bilateral relations, the directorate said in a statement.
Spain and Italy, along with Portugal and Malta, contained Macron’s offensive against Turkey, urging for dialogue and negotiation for resolving the Eastern Mediterranean issue during a southern EU states summit on Sept. 10, Spanish media reported.
According to the El Pais, the statement released after the Med7 summit on Corsica, outlying French island, was relatively softer than what France, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration sought.
“Spain and Italy feared that a harsher message could make things worse rather than solve them,” the report said. “[Spanish PM] Pedro Sanchez was the one who most clearly opted for dialogue.”
But Macron opposed, saying no dialogue was possible, with Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration also pressing for a harsh message against Ankara.
“It is our obligation to curb the tensions. We have to go to pragmatic solutions,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was quoted by the newspaper as saying, contrary to them.
The Med7 summit was held on Sept. 10, with the participation of France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration on Corsica.
The informal group of EU Mediterranean states gathered to discuss recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to the diplomatic sources talking to the Spanish newspaper, Italy and Spain were more cautious and want to prevent the tension from escalating to the point where Erdoğan can take some extreme decision.
The two countries are closer to the position of Germany, specifically Chancellor Angela Merkel’s diplomatic efforts for mediation between Turkey and Greece.