Turkish foreign minister and NATO secretary-general Friday discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean over the phone.

Mevlut Cavusoglu and Jens Stoltenberg also discussed recent developments, according to diplomatic sources.

The Turkish foreign minister on Friday said his Greek counterpart denied agreeing to NATO’s proposal for an unconditional meeting on tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"It is noteworthy that Greece lied about NATO secretary-general [Jens Stoltenberg]. They [Athens] initially agreed [but] then told they did not. It is in fact Greece that is lying and not the secretary-general," Cavusoglu said at a press conference in the capital Ankara.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg announced that Turkey and Greece agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

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 Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Talks over E.Med dispute begin: NATO chief

Talks have begun to resolve the dispute between Greece and Turkey over the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

“We believe that there is a need to have technical talks on how to develop enhanced mechanisms for deconfliction”, the secretary general said at a news after the meeting of NATO ambassadors.

“No agreement has been reached yet, but the talks have started,” Stoltenberg added.

His speech confirmed the fact that Greece had indeed agreed to enter into negotiations with Turkey to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg announced that Turkey and Greece agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean, which the Greek government denied later on.

Responding to Greece’s denial, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday: "It is noteworthy that Greece lied about NATO secretary general. They [Athens] initially agreed then told they did not. It is in fact Greece that is lying and not the secretary general."

“Greece once again showed they are not in favor of dialogue”, he added.

Peter Stano, the European Commission’s lead spokesman on foreign affairs, also highlighted the importance of negotiations on Friday.

“The only way forward is dialogue and engagement to bring tensions down,” he told at the European Commission’s daily news conference.

The bloc wishes to see talks between Greece and Turkey as soon as possible, he stated, pointing out that de-escalation of tensions serves the interest of Turkey, Greece, and the whole European Union.

Turkey resumed energy exploration earlier this month in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

Greece and other countries have tried to box in Turkey’s maritime territory and energy exploration rights, despite no country having a longer coastline on the Mediterranean.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greek efforts to declare a huge exclusive economic zone, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean. 

Greece lied on NATO’s E.Med meeting proposal: Turkey

The Turkish foreign minister on Friday said his Greek counterpart denied agreeing to NATO’s proposal for an unconditional meeting on tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"It is noteworthy that Greece lied about NATO Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg]. They [Athens] initially agreed then told they did not. It is in fact Greece that is lying and not the secretary general," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference in the capital Ankara. 

On Thursday, NATO chief Stoltenberg announced that Turkey and Greece agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Greece once again showed they are not in favor of dialogue, Cavusoglu added. 

He also criticized France for provoking Greece against Turkey and called on France to end its "hysterical acts" as it "ridicules itself."

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

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 Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Dialogue for fairly sharing these resources will be a win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

 

Turkey, Greece agree to start technical talks on E.Med: NATO chief

Turkey and Greece agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean, the alliance chief said on Thursday.

"Greece and Turkey are valued Allies, and NATO is an important platform for consultations on all issues that affect our shared security," Jens Stoltenberg said in a written statement.

"I remain in close touch with all concerned Allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of NATO solidarity," he added.

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

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 Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Dialogue for fairly sharing these resources will be a win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

 

Morocco hosting talks between Libyan rivals: Source

Morocco is hosting consultations between Libya’s warring rivals to discuss ways of ending the country’s 10-year conflict, a Libyan official said Saturday. 

"Meetings are currently underway between committees representing the Libyan government and the Tobruk parliament in Morocco and other locations to discuss files related to the Libyan crisis,” the official, who preferred to be unnamed, told Anadolu Agency.

He said Morocco may host later a meeting between Khalid al-Mishri, the head of Libya's High Council of State, and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament.

On Friday, al-Mishri spoke about unofficial meetings taking place in Morocco between the High Council of State and the Tobruk parliament, according to a statement by his media office.

Moroccan media also reported that a meeting between the rivals may be held in Rabat next week.

There was no comment from Moroccan authorities on the reported meeting.

A spokesman for the Tobruk parliament said on Thursday that the planned meeting in Rabat aims at resuming talks between the Libyan rivals to reach a political settlement in Libya.

In July, al-Mishri and Saleh visited Rabat for separate talks with Moroccan officials.

Diplomatic efforts have been underway in recent weeks to reach a solution to the Libyan conflict following victories made by the Libyan Army against militias of warlord Khalifa Haftar. 

Turkey chases its rights, not tension in E.Med: Defense chief

Turkey is going after its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, not seeking tension, the country’s defense minister said on Thursday.

“We are not seeking tension or bullying. We clearly and explicitly chase our rights and interests with belief, knowledge, logic, science, and law. Nobody can prevent this,” Hulusi Akar said.

On the recent US decision to partially lift arms embargo on Greek Cyprus administration, Akar said it will cause “conflict and deadlock,” not to bring “peace and solution.”

On Tuesday, the US announced that it is partially lifting the embargo on Southern Cyprus.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Nicos Anastasiades, the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration, about the partial lifting of the US arms embargo and discussed their "deepening" security relationship.

The US announcement came amid markedly strained tensions in the region between Turkey and several nations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After Athens objected to Ankara's seismic survey in the area in July, German diplomatic efforts helped defuse tensions between Turkey and Greece.

But Greece's controversial move to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt, which Turkey says violates its continental shelf and maritime rights, has sparked further tensions between the two neighbors with Ankara accusing Athens of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has attempted to illegally restrict Turkey’s maritime territory, trying to box it in to its shores based on small Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey has argued the sides should instead sit down for dialogue to reach a win-win solution based on fair sharing.

Greece has also recently carried out military drills -- including with France -- meant to intimidate Turkey into stopping energy exploration, as well as illegally armed Aegean islands, in violation of longstanding peace treaties.

Athens’ recent maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt also violates Turkey’s continental shelf and maritime rights, sparking further tensions between the two neighbors.

His remarks came during a visit for inspections at the air operations center in the central Eskisehir province.