Greece, Turkey agree to safety measures to prevent conflict

Turkey's research vessel, Oruc Reis anchored off the coast of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP)

Greece and Turkey agreed Thursday to safety measures aimed at preventing standoffs between their warships and military aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea from breaking out into open conflict, NATO said.

Read more: Turkey marks 1922 victory over Greece amid eastern Mediterranean tensions

Tensions between the neighbors and alliance members ran high for several weeks in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey was prospecting the seabed for potential energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf.

NATO headquarters said in a statement that the new measures include the setting up of a hotline between Greece and Turkey for use between senior officials should confrontations arise. No further details were provided.

“This safety mechanism can help to create the space for diplomatic efforts to address the underlying dispute and we stand ready to develop it further. I will remain in close contact with both allies,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in the statement.

Talks on the measures got off to a rocky start last month, with Greece refusing to even acknowledge that they were underway, and both sides arguing over what steps should be taken.

The NATO talks are completely separate from diplomatic efforts led by Germany to help bring a permanent end to the eastern Mediterranean dispute.

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Last Update: Thursday, 01 October 2020 KSA 19:01 - GMT 16:01
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