Turkish defense minister meets senior North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official for talks on East Med

Turkish defense chief to meet senior NATO official

Turkish defense chief to meet senior NATO official

Hulusi Akar and NATO's Stuart Peach will gather at the National Defense Ministry building in the capital Ankara.

Turkey's hunt for gas and oil reserves in waters claimed by Greece has put a huge strain on the relationship between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

The meeting comes after the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief announced Friday that talks had started between Turkey and Greece to resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The talks aimed at reducing the risk of conflict or accidents amid military tensions between the allies over offshore energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Stoltenberg said.

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday during a speech in his presidential palace once again affirmed Ankara's position in the dispute over sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean. The President of the European Union also called for a multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean with the aim of finding a peaceful solution through negotiations.

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Erdogan told Michel that the alliance should fulfil its obligation to prevent Greece and some European Union member states from escalating the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean, the Directorate said in a statement on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He told European Council President Charles Michel in a phone call that the bloc's approach would be a test of its sincerity for global law and regional peace, Erdogan's office said in a statement.

Erdogan also called on European Union institutions and member states to remain "fair, impartial and responsible in all regional matters".

Turkey's armed forces also began their annual five-day joint exercise called "Mediterranean Storm" in the breakaway republic of Northern Cyprus.

Despite opposition from Greece and some other countries, on August 31, Turkey again extended the Oruc Reis's energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean in an area within Turkey's continental shelf, this time through September 12.

"Erdogan's provocations escalated on Saturday, with the Turkish President saying that Greece 'will either understand the language of politics and diplomacy or on the field through bitter experiences".

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