US calls on Greece, Turkey to engage in dialogue over east Med tension

US calls on Greece, Turkey to engage in dialogue over east Med tension

US calls on Greece, Turkey to engage in dialogue over east Med tension

The United States has urged both Turkey and Greece to commit to dialogue for the resolution of the problems stemming from their differences over the sovereign rights in the eastern Mediterranean, following a similar action by Germany as the EU term president.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the phone late Aug. 26 as the tension between the two NATO allies have escalated in the region with concerns of a possible armed conflict.

“President Trump expressed concern over increased tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean,” Judd Deere, White House deputy press secretary, said on Twitter as he announced Trump’s separate phone conversations with both leaders.

“President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences. The two leaders also discussed important bilateral and regional issues,” he stated.

A statement issued by the Turkish Communications Directorate informed that Erdoğan reminded Trump that Turkey is not the one causing instability in the region and that Turkey proved “concrete actions” that it wants to reduce tensions and establish a dialogue on the matter.

Washington’s intervention has followed a similar effort by Germany as the EU term president, which sought to reduce the tension between the two neighbors by launching a new round of direct talks between Ankara and Athens.

Turkey and Greece dispute over the continental shelf claims in the eastern Mediterranean and accuse each other of escalating the tension.

Turkey slams Greece for its maximalist demands by suggesting that its only 10-square-kilometer Meis Island should be granted a 40,000-square-kilometer maritime jurisdiction area at the expense of violating Turkey’s rights in the same area.