By Seda Sevencan, Handan Kazanci and Yusuf Ozcan
ANKARA / ISTANBUL / PARIS (AA) – The Turkish and French presidents had a phone conversation Tuesday and discussed the Eastern Mediterranean, bilateral ties and relations between Ankara and the European Union.
In a statement, Turkey's Communications Directorate said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Turkey advocates dialogue and cooperation to resolve problems.
Erdogan stressed that ignoring the legitimate rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean is the reason for the tensions in the region.
He also noted that diplomatic opportunities should be utilized and sustainable negotiation processes implemented to reduce the tensions, the statement added.
Ankara "wants to discuss and solve all problems on the table," he said.
According to the statement, Erdogan expects a "constructive" attitude from Paris and favors consultation and communications between Turkey and France for the sake of a regular mechanism.
He added that it is important to see "constructive dialogue and cooperation" at next week’s EU Leaders Summit for possible solutions to regional issues.
The meeting, originally set for this week, was postponed to Oct. 1-2 due to a coronavirus infection close to an EU official.
According to a statement issued by the Elysee Palace, Macron said his country was always ready for dialogue and attached importance to a solid relationship between the EU and Turkey.
The issues of Libya and Syria along with the Eastern Mediterranean were discussed in the conversation, which lasted more than an hour, it said.
The statement also underlined that Macron hailed the exploratory talks to begin soon between Turkey and Greece.
Macron stressed that he wanted the talks to be held in good faith and with the concern of lowering the pressure in the region, the statement said, adding the French leader also called for a similar dialogue to be conducted between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot Administration.
It was stated that the two leaders decided to continue the dialogue on these issues at the presidential and ministerial levels.
– Trilateral meeting, regional tensions
The phone call between Erdogan and Macron comes after top leaders from Turkey, Germany and the European Union held a video meeting Tuesday focusing on the recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In addition to Erdogan, the trilateral meeting included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
Underlining his appreciation for Berlin’s mediation efforts, during the meeting, Erdogan stressed the importance of holding a regional conference on the Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of all parties, including Turkish Cypriots, said Turkey’s Communications Directorate.
Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece, with France’s support, has disputed Turkey's energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships with a military escort to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region.
To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.
*Additional writing by Jeyhun Aliyev