Turkey against tension in the eastern Mediterranean, Erdoğan told Merkel

Turkey is against tension in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, while calling upon the European Union to encourage Athens to engage in dialogue with Ankara.

“Turkey does not want tension in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean; on the contrary, it wants stability and cooperation so that dialogue [with Greece] can proceed in an efficient way,” Erdoğan said during a video conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Greece must be encouraged more. Relations between Ankara and Brussels must not be undermined by countries that fail to grasp their value,” he said.

The video conference was held ahead of an EU leaders summit, also due to take place via video conference on Thursday, which will also discuss a report on Turkey by the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.

The draft said the EU should launch negotiations on deeper trade ties with Turkey but be ready to impose economic sanctions if Ankara moves against the bloc’s interests.

Erdoğan told Merkel he hoped the report would assess EU-Turkey relations in an “objective” manner.

(A version of this article was originally published by the Kathimerini and reproduced by permission.)