France will increase its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.
The French leader voiced concern over "unilateral" exploration by Turkey in a call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Macron's office said in a statement, adding the resource search should "cease in order to allow a peaceful dialogue" between the neighboring NATO members.
France will "temporarily reinforce" its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, the statement said, to "monitor the situation in the region and mark its determination to uphold international law."
Turkey has long contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
Ankara accuses Athens of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that its maritime claims violate Turkey's sovereign rights.
Turkey's plans for the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel to search for hydrocarbons off the island of Kastellorizo (Megisti-Meis) had infuriated Athens last month.
Ankara later agreed to suspend the search off the Greek island "for a while," depending on the outcome of negotiations with Athens and European Union heavyweight, Germany.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last Friday said the Greek side failed to keep promises and said another vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin, had also been sent to the East Mediterranean after Greece signed a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt.
Turkey says the agreement violates its continental shelf and maritime rights.
While Ankara continues to defend its legitimate interests in the Eastern Mediterranean through diplomatic and military activities, it also calls on the international community, especially the countries in the region, for comprehensive cooperation based on negotiations.
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