Erdogan, NATO chief discuss East Med tensions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about the escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over the phone.

In the phone call on Friday, Erdogan told Stoltenberg that Turkey would continue to protect its rights and interests everywhere, reports Xinhua news agency.

He asked NATO to fulfil its responsibility against unilateral steps that ignore international law and damage regional peace, according a statement of Turkey’s presidential office.

The President also said his country has been supporting a fair solution in the region with a win-win mentality for all countries, it added.

The tensions over Turkish natural gas explorations off Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean have escalated in recent weeks.

Greece considers the explorations illegal.

The European Union has also condemned the Turkish actions and asked Ankara to stop them.

The Ankara government on the other hand believes the waters, in which natural gas is being drilled on a trial basis, belong to the Turkish continental shelf.

Earlier this week, Erdogan said that his country will defend its right of hydrocarbon explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean and make “no concessions” in the ongoing disputes.

Turkey has sent an exploratory vessel Oruc Reis, which is carrying out seismic research escorted by warships in the region.