Greece rejects Nato peace talks as Turkey feud erupts with order to remove warships

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Athens insisted the only way to de-escalate the situation was for Turkey to withdraw its warships from Greek waters. The furious rebuke comes after Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg claimed the two members of the military alliance had agreed to technical talks to defuse a row over energy exploration. Mr Stoltenberg said: “Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at Nato to establish deconfliction mechanisms and rescue the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

He added: “I remain in close touch with all concerned allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of Nato solidarity.”

But Greek diplomatic sources hit back, claiming the Nato chief’s statement “does not correspond to reality”.

“De-escalation is only the immediate removal of all Turkish ships from the Greek waters,” one source said.

Tensions between Nato members Greece and Turkey have reached breaking point in recent weeks.

It comes after Ankara decided to send its Oruc Reis research vessel, accompanied by a naval escort, into Greek territorial waters to hunt for natural gas.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced several extensions to his exploration programme despite the threat of European Union sanctions.

The Turkish foreign ministry voiced its support for Nato to mediate discussions between the two parties.

A statement said: “This initiative, which is also supported by Turkey, refers to the initiation of military-technical meetings between the two countries with Nato, as the secretary-general announced.”

“We expect Greece to support this initiative of the secretary-general of Nato,” the Turkish foreign ministry added.

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Angela Merkel has also personally intervened in the row in the hope of de-escalating the tensions.

The German Chancellor held talks with her Turkish counterpart but was met with a furious response.

President Erdogan voiced his anger with some Nato members who support Greece in the row.

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It is understood he is most concerned about France’s response to the stand-off after Emmanuel Macron sent warships to the Mediterranean.

“The support offered by some countries to the selfish and unjust attitude of Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean is unacceptable,” President Erdogan said.

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