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France to increase Mediterranean troop presence over Turkey gas explorations

  • August 13, 2020

France will increase its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.

Macron asked Turkey to cease oil and gas exploration in contested waters that has spurred tensions with Greece. 

A statement by Macron’s office said that France will “temporarily reinforce” the presence of its military to “monitor the situation in the region and mark its determination to uphold international law.” 

In a call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Macron raised concern over  “unilateral” exploration by Turkey, adding that they should “cease in order to allow a peaceful dialogue” between Turkey and Greece.  

Read more: Greece accuses Turkey of ‘threatening peace’ in the Mediterranean

Tensions have been high between the two neighboring NATO members over claims to natural gas reserves. 

Dubbed the Cyprus gas dispute, it was brought to the fore when EU member Cyprus made attempts to explore for gas in the eastern Mediterranean despite strong objections from Turkey. 

In July,  Macron had pushed for EU sanctions against Ankara for what he called “violations” of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty over their territorial waters.  

Relations between France and Turkey have also been strained by the Libyan conflict. 

Read more: Europe warns Turkey against natural gas mission near Greece



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