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News ID: 49667
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 20:06 - 07 December 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will not cave in to threats and blackmail over its energy exploration rights in the contested Eastern Mediterranean waters, stressing that Ankara is willing to resolve the dispute through negotiation.

Turkey will not bow to threats in Eastern Mediterranean, wants negotiation: ErdoganErdogan made the remarks on Monday as Foreign Ministers of EU states are expected to meet in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to evaluate grounds for sanctions against Ankara over its energy exploration in the disputed waters.

"In the eastern Mediterranean issue, our country never sides with tension, but with peace, cooperation, fairness and implementing justice. The path to this goes through negotiations based on mutual respect," Erdogan said.

The Turkish president further said he believes “a win-win formula” can be found in a row with Greece and Cyprus over natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, repeating a call for a conference that involves all actors in the region.

However, he said, Turkey would not allow a "pirate mentality" shown by other countries to restrict it to a narrow strip of coastal water.

"We will not bow down to threats and blackmail... We will not allow imperialist expansionism," he said.

Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute in the eastern Mediterranean over the region's resources.

In August, Turkey dispatched the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel and warships escorting it to prospect for energy resources in an area in the sea that is disputed with Greece, infuriating Athens and creating a weeks-long diplomatic crisis.

Brussels, which has sided with EU member Greece, threatened Ankara with sanctions back in October.

Turkey’s move in late November to return the exploration vessel to port has calmed tensions, but EU says Ankara’s drill and survey ships have continued to work in contested waters; a move which, according to Greece, makes formal talks with Turkey over the issue impossible.

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