Foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Nikos Dendias, meet in Bratislava to discuss energy rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) meets with Nikos Dendias on the sidelines of the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia on October 8, 2020.
Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) meets with Nikos Dendias on the sidelines of the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia on October 8, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey's foreign minister has met his Greek counterpart for the highest-level talks since tensions between the two NATO neighbours erupted over eastern Mediterranean energy rights.

Turkey's top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met for about a half-hour on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum in Slovakia's capital on Thursday.

They discussed "bilateral and regional issues", with the standoff on the agenda in the first meeting in three months.

Speaking to the press after the meeting with Dendias, Cavusoglu said that they agreed to hold exploratory talks over the eastern Mediterranean, the next round of which will be held in Turkey. 

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Cavusoglu and then Dendias to resolve the tensions over the eastern Mediterranean.

A video from the Turkish Foreign Ministry showing the pair laughing after greeting each other.

The ministry did not give details on what the two ministers discussed.

READ MORE: Turkey’s Cavusoglu seeks urgent dialogue with EU over regional conflicts

East Med row

Tensions over natural gas rights escalated in August when Turkey sent a seismic survey ship and a small navy flotilla into contested waters near a Greek island close to Turkey's coast.

Turkey ordered the ship back to port for routine maintenance last month, but not before both sides held military drills and the European Union threatened sanctions on Ankara.

At an event at the forum before their meeting, Cavusoglu criticised Greece's "maximalist claims" in the sea, using maps to show "there is nothing left for Turkey" if Greek demands are accepted.

The Turkish minister also repeated Ankara's dismay over a deal Athens agreed with Cairo in August to set up an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean.

READ MORE: Cooperation is the only way out of Eastern Mediterranean's energy dilemma

Ankara for fair sharing of resources

Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent drillships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also have rights in the region.

To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region's resources.

READ MORE: Mediterranean neighbours cannot stop Turkey from ensuring its rights

Source: TRTWorld and agencies