France will increase its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday, calling on Turkey to end oil and gas exploration in the controversial waters that have exacerbated tensions with Greece.
The French leader expressed concern over Turkey’s “one-sided” exploration during a call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Macron’s office said in a statement.
He added that the surveys should “cease in order to allow a peaceful dialogue” between neighboring NATO members.
The showdown deepened this week with the arrival of the Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis in a controversial area of the Mediterranean, accompanied by warships.
France “will temporarily” strengthen its military presence, Macron’s statement said, “to follow the situation in the region and show its determination to uphold international law.”
Turkey and Greece disagree over competing claims over natural gas reserves, highlighted by attempts by EU member Cyprus to explore for gas in the eastern Mediterranean despite strong objections from Turkey.
Macron last month called for EU sanctions against Turkey for what he called “violations” of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty over their territorial waters. Relations between Paris and Ankara have also faltered because of the conflict in Libya.