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NATO secretary-general urges Greece, Turkey to solve rows over Aegean

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday urged Greece and Turkey to resolve their disagreements over the Aegean Sea, where the two are at loggerheads over islands and airspace, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Diverse views and debate are an essential part of our democracies,” the head of the transatlantic military alliance told Greek news agency ANA.

But, he said, “we urge Greece and Turkiye to solve their differences in the Aegean in a spirit of trust and Allied solidarity.”

“That means restraint and moderation, and refraining from any actions or rhetoric that could escalate the situation.”

Stoltenberg’s comments came two weeks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared he was ending regular high-level meetings with Greek leaders intended to foster cooperation between the two countries.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis responded that he would not engage in a “ping-pong” of personal insults with Erdoğan.

The two uneasy NATO neighbors have for years feuded over maritime borders and energy exploration rights in disputed parts of the Aegean, which separates the two countries, and in the eastern Mediterranean.

Athens also accuses Ankara of overflying Greek islands.

Turkey, for its part, says Greece is stationing troops on islands in the Aegean in violation of peace treaties signed after the first and second world wars.

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