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German FM Maas urges Turkey to avoid “provocative actions”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Turkey on Tuesday to fully engage in planned talks with the European Union and avoid “provocative actions” in the Eastern Mediterranean in an effort to head off a potential crisis with neighboring Greece.

“We have a very clear position: international law must be respected. Therefore, progress in relations with Turkey can only be achieved if Ankara avoids provocations in the eastern Mediterranean,″ Maas said after talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Athens.

“At the same time, within the European Union we see the need to engage in dialogue with Turkey,″ the German FM added.

Maas, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, was meeting in Athens with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, as well as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Greece is hoping Germany will use its influence with Turkey to press for progress in negotiations, notes Associated Press.

Last week, Germany hosted unannounced talks with Greek and Turkish officials to try and restart discussions.

Maas urge comes as Turkey is proceeding with its plans to conduct hydrocarbon research inside Greece’ continental shelf and next to its seismic vessel is deploying several warships in the research area south of Rhodes and Kastelorizo.

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