NATO said on Wednesday there had been a “good progress” in military talks between Greece and Turkey aimed at avoiding clashes in the Eastern Mediterranean, the scene of a dispute over energy resources.
Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said military officials from the two sides had held half a dozen meetings at NATO headquarters to try to agree on a mechanism to prevent accidental air or sea clashes.
“These meetings are ongoing and good progress has been made,” Stoltenberg said after talks in Brussels with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. “These are technical military talks. They complement the diplomatic efforts led by Germany to resolve the underlying dispute,” he added.
Neighbors Turkey and Greece are involved in a bitter spat over the Eastern Mediterranean. But the tone has softened this week, with Athens and Ankara on Tuesday agreeing to begin exploratory talks to resolve the dispute. Stoltenberg welcomed the move, while Sanchez described it as “a significant step in the good direction.”
Military delegations from Turkey and Greece have met for the fifth time as part of a NATO-led initiative to discuss de-confliction mechanisms in the Eastern Mediterranean, security sources said Tuesday.
In a statement, the Turkish Defense Ministry said the delegations have completed the fifth round of talks at the NATO headquarters in Brussels and added that the next round has been scheduled for next week.
The talks aim to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the region, like the ones that happened in August, while the two countries are involved in a dispute over access to natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.