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Greek FM: Turkey’s moves to ease tensions ‘unconvincing’

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Turkey’s recent moves to de-escalate a clash with Greece and Cyprus over east Mediterranean energy reserves are “unconvincing” and European Union leaders need to take action that will prompt Ankara to heed international law, Greece’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Nikos Dendias said Turkey opted not to seize an opportunity that European Union leaders offered it in October to ease tensions in the region so that the 27-member bloc could start reshaping its fraught relations with Ankara.

Turkey last week ordered the research vessel Oruc Reis back to port after completing what it said was seismic research in east Mediterranean waters. The warship-escorted vessel’s activities in waters where Greece asserts jurisdiction prompted a military build-up between the two neighbors and nominal NATO allies.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias talks to the media during a press conference after a meeting with his Cyprus counterpart Nicos Christodoulides at the foreign ministry house in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Dec. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, Pool)

Greece countered by also sending its warships, and both countries conducted military exercises to assert their claims. NATO stepped in to prevent a potential armed conflict.

But Dendias said the ship’s return to port wasn’t enough.

“Turkey’s belated moves in recent days to supposedly de-escalate tensions are not convincing.” Dendias said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides. “That’s why we have jointly asked all other European Union member states to live up to their responsibilities.”

“These decisions are significant not only as a clear message to Turkey, but also to prove the European Union’s credibility.”

Sourced By: AP News

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