Turkey urges EU to be ‘honest mediator’ in dispute with Greece

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Turkey on Tuesday called on the European Union to become an “honest mediator” in its standoff with the bloc’s member Greece over undersea resources, two days before an EU summit.

Turkey, an EU candidate country whose accession has been frozen over issues including its human rights record, is at odds with Greece over territory believed to be rich in gas in the eastern Mediterranean.

Athens is now pressing for punitive sanctions at an EU summit on Thursday.

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The European Union “should play a role of an honest mediator” on issues that concern Turkey and Greece, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara alongside his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto.

“We can resolve the problems only through dialogue and diplomacy,” Cavusoglu said.

A file photo of Turkish seismic exploration ship ‘oruc reis’ sailing at sea. (Reuters)
A file photo of Turkish seismic exploration ship ‘oruc reis’ sailing at sea. (Reuters)

Ankara has angered Greece and the rest of the EU by sending a survey ship and navy vessels to the disputed waters in defiance of calls to stop. It ordered the Oruc Reis ship back to port last month.

France supports Greece’s call for sanctions but not all countries are convinced with some fearing over an influx of refugees.

“Whether they like it or not, the security of Europe is in the hands of Turkey to a great extent,” Hungary’s Szijjarto said in translated comments.

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