World Media

Turkey, Greece to use dialogue to calm Aegean tensions

Turkey, Greece to use dialogue to calm Aegean tensions

"The Aegean Sea should not become a place of conflict, and Turkey and Greece should strive for peace and stability in this region", Yildirim said.

Yildirim said that the Aegean should be a sea of friendship and refrained from repeating the claim made by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday that Imia belongs to Turkey - even though he blamed Monday's incident on Greek violations.Tensions on Cyprus however remain, as Turkish warships continued their naval blockade of Block 3 in the island's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).Moreover, Yildirim reportedly told Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Nicosia can not continue with hydrocarbon exploration without a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the reports about the collision of the boats of the Turkish and Greek Coast Guard.

Yildirim said that there have been further violations by the Greek side recently, which started with an incident in January over disputed tiny inhabited Kardak islets.

Yildirim said the Greek and Turkish military chiefs would meet on the margins of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels in May.

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"We want to do our utmost to avoid real problems and the escalation of conflict and tension between them", he said.

The incident occurred near the uninhabited Imia islets, just off the Turkish coast and a historic flashpoint in a long-running demarcation dispute.

Coast guard officers warned Kammenos, who was heading to the Kardak islets in an assault boat to lay a wreath there.

Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have been at odds over a host of issues from ethnically split Cyprus to sovereignty over airspace and overflights.


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