Turkey, Greece agree to 'dialogue' to settle maritime disputes

Turkey, Greece agree to 'dialogue' to settle maritime disputes in the Aegean
1 min read
14 February, 2018
A Turkish vessel collided with a Greek coastguard boat on Tuesday, prompting a diplomatic flurry.
Turkish foreign minister Binali Yildirim (L) and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras (R) [Getty]
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Turkey and Greece have agreed to use dialogue to settle tensions, just one day after a Turkish vessel collided with a Greek coastguard boat in the Aegean Sea.

Yildirim spoke with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras late on Tuesday in a phone call, saying the Aegean should be a "sea of friendship", AP reported.

"We have reached an agreement that as of now (tensions) are settled politically and diplomatically in a more calm way, through mutual understanding and with the channels of dialogue constantly open," Yildirim said, discussing the call.

Greece's foreign ministry had earlier called Turkey's behaviour "provocative".

Yildirim reportedly told his Greek counterpart that Greece needed to take necessary measures to decrease tensions, according to Reuters.

Turkey has opposed the Greek Cypriot Administration for offshore hydrocarbons exploration, with Ankara claiming ownership of the continental shelf of the eastern Aegean.

Cyprus is divided between the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Last week, Italy's Eni and France's Total discovered a natural gas field off of Cyprus.

Turkey and Greece are both NATO members. The two countries were on the brink of war in 1996 over some islets, including one known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish.