The trip to Ankara by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas comes amid an easing in tensions between nominal NATO allies Turkey and Greece.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) is seen with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Mass (R) during their meeting in New York, US on September 26, 2019.
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) is seen with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Mass (R) during their meeting in New York, US on September 26, 2019. (AA)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is visiting Turkey to discuss bilateral relations and EU-Turkey ties, Turkish officials have said. 

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, bilateral and regional issues, as well as Turkey-EU relations, will be discussed during his visit on Monday. 

The visit comes amid an easing in tensions between nominal NATO allies Turkey and Greece. 

Tension simmered between the two neighbours over the summer due to a row on maritime boundaries and energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Last week, both countries announced the resumption of exploratory talks and said meetings could take place between top officials, including the Turkish president and the Greek prime minister.

"We welcome the fact that Turkey has sent signals of detente since the beginning of the year – not just with words, but also with actions," Maas said ahead of his arrival in Ankara. 

He added that the return to talks with Greece is "an important first step" and pulling back the research ship Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa is also "a positive signal from Ankara."

READ MORE: Turkey, Greece to hold exploratory talks in Istanbul

Eastern Mediterranean spat

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, rejects the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that they violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Ankara has sent several drill ships in recent months to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favour of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.

READ MORE: Will the international community find a fair solution in the east Med?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies