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Merkel on Greece-Turkey East Med Row: All EU Countries Have Obligation to Support Athens

© REUTERS / Murad SezerTurkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is seen in Istanbul, Turkey, August 22, 2019. Picture taken August 22, 2019
Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is seen in Istanbul, Turkey, August 22, 2019. Picture taken August 22, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have been escalating since Turkey renewed its efforts to explore energy reserves near Cyprus. Ankara claims rights to parts of the island's offshore resources despite vehement opposition from Greece and some other EU states.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that all European Union countries have an obligation to support Greece in its row with Turkey over Cyprus’ offshore energy resources. The chancellor added that she had already discussed the dispute between Athens and Ankara "intensely" with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Merkel also confirmed that Germany is "committed to" preventing an escalation of the dispute between the two countries over the eastern Mediterranean and has called for jointly resolving the conflict over Cyprus' exclusive economic zones.

Conflict Over Energy Resources in Mediterranean

Tensions between Greece and Turkey escalated again early in August after Ankara announced the renewal of its efforts to find gas and oil in offshore areas of Cyprus, which Turkey considers part of the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, to which it has been given access.

Turkey sent a seismic research vessel to the eastern Mediterranean, escorted by a warship, for that purpose. These efforts have long been opposed by the Greek government, which doesn't recognise Ankara's claims to Cyprus' offshore resources, prompting the country to mobilise military forces in response to the Turkish actions.

Turkey's research vessel, Oruc Reis, anchored off the coast of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey, Friday, 24 July 2020. - Sputnik International
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The latest escalation was preceded by the two countries striking separate deals with other states to draw up EEZ borders, which conflicted with each other. Athens signed such an agreement with the Egyptian government and Turkey struck one with the Government of National Accord, which controls the north-eastern part of war-torn Libya.

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