Erdogan and Michel call each other after new military exercises at Cyprus

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, called the Turkish president Erdogan. No official announcements were made about the content of the conversation, but according to Turkish and Greek media they discussed the tensions in the Mediterranean.

Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads over an area in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey recently searched near a Greek island for natural gas, after which Greece and Cyprus held several military exercises, supported by France, Italy and the United States.

According to Turkish media, Erdogan has instructed his Brussels colleague to be objective. He has demanded that the European Union should prevent Greece from increasing tensions in the Mediterranean, writes CNN Turk.

According to the Greek news site Ekathimerini, Michel stressed that all EU member states stand behind Greece and Cyprus. The EU leader is said to have called on Erdogan to de-escalate the conflict.

New military exercise

Just today the Turkish army started an exercise in the waters near Cyprus. Turkish Vice President Oktay announced on Twitter that the exercise is intended to improve cooperation with Turkish troops in Northern Cyprus, a self-proclaimed republic only recognised by Turkey.

Last Thursday, NATO chief Stoltenberg said that Greece and Turkey, who are both members of the military alliance, are willing to meet. A day later, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said that this will only happen when Turkey stops “provoking”. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Cavusoglu actually called on Greece to start de-escalating.