German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will be in Athens and Ankara on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sends threatening messages to Greece again.
In a speech on Monday, Erdogan said Greece is “endangering the coastal and navigational safety of all ships in the Eastern Mediterranean region” and warned that its attitude had thrown Greece “into a chaos that it cannot get out of.”
The Turkish president was referring to the Greek naval exercise that will take place inside Greece’s continental shelf which is currently violated by Turkish seismic research ships accompanied by naval vessels.
The agenda of Maas’ talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias includes the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as EU-Russia relations and the situation in Libya, in light of the informal “Gymnich” meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, which will take place in Berlin on August 27-28, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement.
Maas will then travel to Ankara to have a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
On Monday, the German government expressed its disappointment for the extension of the Turkish NAVTEX in the Aegean, while warning that the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean burdens the European Union’s relationship with Turkey and its possible escalation will have even more serious consequences.
“We are sorry for this announcement by Turkey. From our point of view, the extension of the Turkish ship’s seismological surveys there is currently a step in the wrong direction, because what we need now are de-escalation messages,” said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger, in response to the extension of the Turkish NAVTEX until August 27, the day on which the Informal Council of EU Foreign Ministers takes place.