Intense behind the scenes diplomacy is in progress in order to achieve de-escalation in the region of the southeastern Mediterranean and to avoid an accident that could lead to a hot incident between Greece and Turkey.
As of Wednesday night, the United States seems to be playing a leading role in this effort as Donald Trump has spoken successively with both Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the same time, despite the fact that the Berlin initiative to start a dialogue is heading towards failure, the information from the German capital wants Angela Merkel to have a telephone conversation with the Turkish President tomorrow, Friday, in an effort to reduce the tension.
At the same time, the two-day Informal Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union begins today, where Josep Borel has pledged to present the list of measures concerning Turkey.
Trump's phone calls to Mitsotakis and Erdogan
The US President had successive telephone conversations with both the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish President on Wednesday night. According to a White House statement, Trump "expressed Washington's concern about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey, two NATO allies in the Eastern Mediterranean, and reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must engage in dialogue." which is the only way to resolve their differences ".
For his part, Mr. Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is ready to contribute substantially to the de-escalation provided that Turkey immediately stops its provocative actions.
A little while later, Donald Trump contacted Tayyip Erdogan with the Turkish President, stating that his country wants de-escalation but "it is not the one that is causing instability in the eastern Mediterranean. He also stressed that Turkey has shown with "concrete actions" that it wants to reduce tensions and start a dialogue on the issue.
Experienced diplomats positively evaluate Trump's move. In recent months, US diplomacy has repeatedly supported Greek positions and used harsh language to address Ankara's challenges. Many have questioned whether the White House has the same view, due to the positive reports that Trump has made about his personal relationship with Tayyip Erdogan. Yesterday's initiative is seen as an attempt by the American president to send a message that he is listening to the Greek positions, while it is estimated that the annoyance from Erdogan's movements in the wider region and the instability he creates have now reached the top rung of the White House.
New effort from Berlin
At the same time, although it became clear from German FM Haiko Maas' visits to Athens and Ankara that the Berlin initiative did not have the desired results, Merkel seems willing to make another attempt.
In Brussels, however, they estimate that Turkey is particularly annoyed by Greece's agreement with Egypt. Revealing, after all, was the dialogue between the German Minister of Defense and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which was recorded without their knowledge by the open microphones, during the meeting at the NATO Foreign Ministers' Summit.