Turkey and Greece have mutually cancelled military drills set earlier this month by Ankara for this Wednesday, Oct. 28 and by Athens for Thursday, Oct. 29, according to Turkish security sources.

In a one-time move and gesture of goodwill, Turkey on Monday revoked its Navtex naval alert for planned military drills in the Mediterranean to show Turkey’s willingness to solve the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean with dialogue, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Both countries' decisions came following Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's proposal at a meeting of NATO defense ministers Saturday, it said, adding that the alliance's top official, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and Greece's Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos supported the offer.

Akar said on Twitter that Turkey was in favor of dialogue, negotiations, international law and good neighborly relations.

Turkey is determined to defend the country’s rights and interests, he added.

Navtex is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, as well as other information.

Amid tensions between Turkey and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, on Oct. 8 Greece issued an alert that it would hold maritime shooting drills on Turkey’s Republic Day national holiday, in what seemed a deliberate provocation.

After Greece issued its alert for Oct. 29, Turkey in response issued its own Navtex alert for shooting drills for a day prior, Oct. 28.

Tensions have recently escalated regarding the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration, 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 drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the region.

Greece Concerned by Arms Supply to Turkey, Ankara’s ‘Expansionist’ Ambitions, Foreign Minister Says

thens is concerned by arms supply to Turkey, as these weapons are used to destabilise all regional countries, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday following a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

"Unfortunately, in all the cases that we discussed, the common denominator was the destabilizing role of Turkey, its neo-Ottoman expansionist views. In this context, I discussed the problem of arms supplies to Turkey with my colleague [Lavrov] and the fact that these weapons are destabilizing all countries in the region," Dendias said during a press conference in Athens.

The top Greek diplomat added that Lavrov had informed him about Russia's perception of the situation in Syria and Libya. 

Earlier in October, Greece asked the European Union member states to halt exports of military equipment to Turkey.

Russia Urges Greece, Turkey to Defuse Tensions in East Med, Is Ready to Help, Lavrov Says

Tensions between the two countries escalated in August, when the Greek Foreign Ministry urged Turkey to stop its "illegal" drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean immediately, warning that Athens will defend itself if needed.

Russia calls on Greece and Turkey to take measures as soon as possible to defuse tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and is ready to become a mediator in resolving the crisis if the parties show interest in this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

"It is necessary to take measures as soon as possible to defuse tensions and move to the settlement of all problems arising here — and there are many of them — via negotiations directly between the parties concerned. This also applies to issues that are governed by the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, including issues where the rights of neighbouring states intersect and demand a negotiated solution via direct dialogue," Lavrov said at a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The minister noted that Moscow had stable and good relations with the countries in the region.

"If there is the will and interest of our partners, we will be ready to help in every possible way to normalize the situation here," Lavrov added.

Relations between Greece and Turkey deteriorated in August after Athens demanded that Turkey immediately stop its "illegal" drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean. This came after the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis launched a seismic survey in a disputed zone of the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Antalya and to the west of Cyprus.

In response to Greece's criticism, Turkey said that Athens had itself violated Ankara's continental shelf rights by reaching a deal with Egypt on the creation of an exclusive economic zone.

After facing pressure from the international community over its gas exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey returned the Oruc Reis ship to its shores in the middle of September. However, later it sent the vessel back to the area of research again just to be denounced by Greece for endangering regional security. 

Greece Accuses Turkey of 'Fueling Tensions', Violating International Law in Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey's calls for a dialogue on the disputed areas of the Eastern Mediterranean are nothing but empty words, while Ankara's continued geological explorations in the area escalate the existing tensions, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday.

The Turkish research vessel, Oruc Reis, will be conducting a seismic exploration of hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean until 4 November. Turkey has issued a new international Navtex alert, according to which the Oruc Reis vessel was to conduct research with the Ataman and Cengizhan vessels south of the Greek island of Kastelorizo.

"It was just yesterday when Turkey once again voiced its will to conduct illegal seismic surveys in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is becoming quite obvious that Turkey seeks to escalate tension and any calls for dialogue are purely conditional," Dendias said during a press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, adding that Greece had always been ready to engage in constructive talks.

The top Greek diplomat also noted that Turkey's illegal actions proved its gross violations of international law.

"[Turkey's] words are devoid of any integrity," Dendias added.

On 11 October, Turkey announced that Oruc Reis exploration would take place from 12 to 22 October. The mission was later extended until 27 October. The Greek Foreign Ministry said that the area belongs to the Greek continental shelf and is located just 6.5 nautical miles from the coast of Kastelorizo.

The territorial waters of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea are defined at six nautical miles. Ankara said the vessel operated exclusively on the Turkish continental shelf 15 kilometres off the coast of Turkey and 425 kilometres off the coast of Greece.