Flags at NATO HQ headquarters Brussels

Greece And Turkey Agree Safety Measures To Avoid Eastern Mediterranean Conflict

The agreement is a result of a series of talks that took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels last month.

Flags at NATO HQ headquarters Brussels

Military representatives from Greece and Turkey have agreed to safety measures aimed at preventing stand-offs between warships and military aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea breaking out into open conflict.

NATO says the new measures include setting up a hotline between Greece and Turkey for use by senior officials should confrontation arise.

Tensions between the neighbours and alliance members ran high for several weeks in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey was searching the seabed for potential energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf.

Talks on the measures at NATO headquarters in Brussels got off to a rocky start last month, with Greece refusing to even acknowledge that they were under way, and both sides arguing over what steps should be taken.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "I welcome the establishment of a military de-confliction mechanism, achieved through the constructive engagement of Greece and Turkey, both valued NATO Allies.

"This safety mechanism can help to create the space for diplomatic efforts to address the underlying dispute and we stand ready to develop it further.

"I will remain in close contact with both Allies."

These NATO talks are completely separate from diplomatic efforts led by Germany to help bring a permanent end to the eastern Mediterranean dispute.

Cover image: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Picture: NATO TV).