The foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece met on Oct. 8 for the first time since their dispute over energy exploration and territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean, and agreed to hold bilateral talks on the issue. Çavuşoğlu said he met with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias on the sidelines of the Global Security Forum in the Slovak capital Bratislava for about 25 minutes.
Turkish Cyprus reopened the beach of a resort abandoned since the 1974 conflict on the island, taking a step supported by Ankara but condemned by Greek Cypriots and causing concern internationally. People wearing face masks streamed in after being allowed through a checkpoint by police near the beachfront of Varosha. Greece called on Turkey to step back from the reopening.
U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden has called for a tougher stance against Turkey and said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs to reverse his decision to convert Istanbul's Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Biden said that the former cathedral should remain a museum with "equal access for all, including the Orthodox faithful."
Turkish and Greek military delegations reached a "common understanding on general principles" on the eastern Mediterranean in meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Oct. 1.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the massive United States Navy ship the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams will be based at a joint U.S.-Greek base -- a move which experts said could serve as Washington’s eagerness to reduce American military reliance on Turkey.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that the European Union’s relationship with Turkey is at a turning point, urging the Turkish government to back down from conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean and uphold basic human rights in the country. Ties “are at a watershed moment in history, which will go to one side or the other, depending on what happens in the next days,” Borrell told the European Parliament on Sept. 15.
European Union sanctions on Belarus are being delayed by a separate dispute between Cyprus and Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, four EU diplomats told Reuters, in the latest sign of paralysis in the bloc's foreign policy.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan knows that the EU has “a lot of options” in terms of the type of sanctions that Ankara might face over escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told European Council President Charles Michel on Sept. 6 that all EU institutions and members states should “behave responsibly" with regards to Turkey's row with Greece over hydrocarbon exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. "President Erdoğan called on EU institutions and member countries to behave responsibly and remain just, impartial and objective on all regional issues, notably the Eastern Mediterranean," a statement from Erdoğan's office said.
Fahrettin Altun, the head of Turkey's Communications Directorate, said on Aug. 31 that he "welcomed" Pope Francis' call for constructive dialogue in the Eastern Mediterranean amid a dispute between Ankara and Athens over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the area.
Four F-16s from the UAE have landed on the Greek island of Crete to take part in drills with the Hellenic Air Force, The Jerusalem Post reported. The UAE's move comes amid rising tension between Turkey and Greece over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu has said that Turkey is ready for talks with Greece without preconditions about a growing row over eastern Mediterranean gas reserves. Çavuşoğlu also warned Greece against taking "missteps" in the region, saying Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary without hesitation.”
Germany urged Greece and Turkey on Aug. 25 to solve their dispute over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea through dialogue, warning of the risk of a military confrontation. "The current situation in the eastern Mediterranean is equivalent to playing with fire," Heiko Maas said after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens. "Every little spark can lead to catastrophe."
Erdoğan has accused Greece of "sowing chaos" in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and of acting "in a spoiled manner." "Greece has declared its own Navtex unlawfully and in a spoiled manner. With this approach, Greece has sown a chaos that it will not be able to escape from," Erdoğan said on Aug. 24.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.