“I follow with concern the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean,” Pope Francis said on August 30, 2020, after praying the noonday Angelus with the “social distanced” crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “I appeal for constructive dialogue and respect for international law in order to resolve the conflicts that threaten the peace of the peoples of that region”.”
The Pope did not mention specific countries, but according to Vatican News, tensions have grown in the last few weeks in the eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey. The dispute involves the vast gas and oil deposits discovered a decade ago. The two countries recently signed maritime agreements: last year Turkey with Libya, and last month Greece with Egypt.
Greece and Turkey are now at odds with the interpretation of their respective territorial waters borders and, therefore, their right to explore and use energy resources, Vatican News said.
The tension between Ankara and Athens rose after 10 August with the deployment of the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis.
The EU has warned Turkey that it could face new sanctions, including tough economic measures unless progress is made in reducing tensions.
On Wednesday, Turkey said it was open to talks with Greece without preconditions, although yesterday it announced new military training maneuvers for another two weeks.
The countries of the European Union are trying, on their part, to avoid escalating the confrontation.