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Politics

Merkel Again Playing Peacemaker With Greece, Turkey

With Greece and Turkey again on the brink of a conflict over seas boundaries and Turkey's plan to drill for energy off Greek islands, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is again trying to keep them apart.

She succeeded earlier in getting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull back an energy research vessel and warships heading toward the island of Kastellorizo but he ordered them back after Greece signed a maritime deal with Egypt setting Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ's) for them to hunt for oil and gas.

That was in response to Turkey making a similar deal with Libya dividing the seas between them and claiming Greek waters and planning energy research as well off Kos, Rhodes and Crete.

With tension rising near the shooting point, Erdogan is expected to hold a telephone conversation with Merkel, according to reports in the Turkish media, said Kathimerini.

Erdogan wants to raise his proposal for a commonly accepted “formula” among the states of the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s Sabah newspaper reported and said he wants it to be “acceptable to everyone and protects everyone’s rights,” after Turkey said Greece would have to make concessions unilaterally.

Erdogan said Turkey in July paused seismic research activities in the region at the request of Merkel “as a gesture of good will but became furious over the Greece-Egypt deal and sent ships back toward Greek islands.

Erdogan said the Turkish research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin, which is sailing off the western coast of Cyprus, would continue working in the area there, the European Union issuing only soft sanctions that exempted him. 

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