- The French and Greek navies held a joint exercise on Thursday.
- According to Macron, the increase in the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean will be "temporary."
- Germany seeks to mediate between Greece and Turkey, two neighbors and members of NATO.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean over oil and gas resources are rising. Meanwhile, the announcement of French military reinforcements sent to the eastern Mediterranean, and France’s support for Greece, has exacerbated these tensions.
In this regard, the French and Greek navies held a joint exercise on Thursday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey would not leave even the lightest attack on civilian ships in the Eastern Mediterranean unanswered on Friday.
Erdogan has strongly opposed France’s presence in the eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish president has previously asked, “what is France looking for and what is it doing here?” France and Turkey are also facing each other in Libya.
Turkey supports the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, but France opposes Turkey. Libya’s GNA government, recognized by the international community as the rule of law in the country, has accused France of backing Khalifa Haftar, a retired general who rebelled against the government.
Macron’s Telephone Conversation with Mitsotakis
French President Emmanuel Macron said after a telephone conversation with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that the presence of French troops in the eastern Mediterranean is increasing.
According to Macron, the increase in the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean will be “temporary,” and only for the sake of “monitoring the situation.”
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis tweeted that Macron was “a true friend of Greece and a staunch defender of European values and international law.” France had called on Turkey to end oil and gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşovlu also warned France immediately, saying “France must refrain from actions that could escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.” Turkey has repeatedly warned Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, which have signed gas extraction contracts.
Merkel’s Telephone Conversation with Turkish and Greek Leaders
Tensions between Greece and Turkey are of great concern to Europeans. Germany, one of the most powerful countries in the European Union, which also holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, seeks to mediate between Greece and Turkey, two neighbors and members of NATO.
This is not the first time that Merkel has mediated between Greece and Turkey. Last week, the German Defense Minister said that Merkel would prevent a war in Europe through mediation between Greece and Turkey. He told reporters in Berlin that an important advantage of Chancellor Merkel was that she could enter into talks with both sides.
For Germany, preventing tensions between Greece and Turkey has become one of the main policy challenges during its presidency of the European Union. A German government spokesman confirmed that Merkel had contacted the leaders of Greece and Turkey again on Thursday.
The spokesman did not elaborate on the subject of Merkel’s telephone conversation, but the focus of the conversation was on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish Anatolian News Agency also reported that Merkel and Erdogan stressed the need to resolve differences in the Eastern Mediterranean through consultations and in accordance with international law.