As tensions between Ankara and Athens over the issues in the eastern Mediterranean linger, Turkish and American top diplomats held a meeting late on Aug. 16 in the Dominican Republic to discuss ways to de-escalate and resolve the problem.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on the occasion of the inauguration of the President of the Dominican Republic Luis Abinader Corona. The meeting came two days after Pompeo held talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Vienna.
“Discussed our bilateral relations & important issues such as of the eastern Mediterranean, Libya & Syria with Secretary of State Pompeo of the USA. We will continue to defend the rights of Turkey & Turkish Cypriots against the provocative steps of the Greek & Greek Cypriot side,” tweeted Çavuşoğlu after the meeting.
The minister later told the Anadolu Agency that he explained the Turkish position on the ongoing conflict on the map and the constructive approach for a diplomatic resolution of it.
“Greece is always making a black propaganda. It argues Turkey is wrong and breaching the international law. However, all that we are doing is in line with the international law,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu also said that they has discussed other regional issues, like that of Libya, on which they agreed to continue the talks further at the technical level.
Pompeo, for his part, described his meeting with Çavuşoğlu as timely.
“Timely conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Santo Domingo today on the urgent need to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.”
In a brief statement after the meeting, principal deputy spokesperson of the State Department Cale Brown said, “Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu discussed issues of mutual concern, including the urgent need to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Tension in the region has flared up after Greece signed a maritime demarcation agreement with Egypt at the expense of Turkey’s continental shelf rights, which was declared to the U.N. after a bilateral deal with Libya, late in 2019.
Both sides accuse each other of violating the international law while Ankara has called on a meeting with all the littoral countries to resolve the pending issues concerning the delimitation of the maritime jurisdiction areas.