Turkish media gave prominence this morning to a press conference held in Madrid following a meeting between the Maltese and Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministers. During their encounter, the two sides insisted that dialogue and negotiation are key to calming tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and promised to collaborate to improve relations in the area.
Over the past weeks, tensions between Greece and Turkey escalated, particularly on issues related to the exploration of energy resources in the Mediterranean.
“We are both trying to boost sincere dialogue and negotiation between Greece and Turkey,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, pointing to her recent trips to Ankara and Athens, where she said she was “discreetly” trying to foster conversation.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has also been in discussions with his Turkish and Greek counterparts. According to Laya, Sanchez has spoken to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan twice so far this week.
The two foreign ministers insisted that they are neutral parties that are working to facilitate dialogue between the feuding countries.
“We have to help the countries resolve the conflict, not tell them what to do,” said Malta’s Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo.
“History doesn’t help, and geography even less so. It’s difficult to find consensus, but the alternative is much worse,” he said. “A military conflict would only serve to postpone a resolution.”
Bartolo also refuted rumors that Turkey was going to set up an air or military base in Malta, reaffirming the country’s commitment to neutrality.
He also added that until the problems surrounding Cyprus are unsolved, there will always be tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.