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AFP
September 24, 2020

Macron urges Erdogan to engage without ‘ambiguity’

World

AFP
September 24, 2020

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday urged Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to engage “without ambiguity” in de-escalating tensions in the Mediterranean that had sparked fears of conflict with Greece.

Macron and Erdogan held a conversation by telephone of over an hour, the Elysee said, their first talks since the upsurge of tensions with Greece over Turkey’s hydrocarbon research activities in the Mediterranean.

The French leader pressed Turkey to “refrain from any new unilateral action likely to provoke tensions and to engage without ambiguity in the construction of an area of peace and cooperation in the Mediterranean”, the Elysee said.

Macron in the talks hailed the planned reopening of long-stalled discussions between Turkey and Greece, saying these should aim at “de-escalation and a lasting easing of tensions”. He also said that talks in “in the same spirit” should be opened with EU member Cyprus, whose northern portion is still occupied by Turkish forces after the 1974 invasion.

The French president, who has repeatedly expressed scepticism about Turkey’s bid to join the EU, underlined “the interest he attatches to a solid relationship between the European Union and Turkey,” the Elysee said.

This relationship needs to be “on a clear basis that respects the interests of each”, he said. Erdogan for his part told Macron that Turkey expected Paris to adopt a “constructive” approach to Ankara’s standoff with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish presidency said.