Turkey looks to ease Aegean tensions

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The Turkish coast guard today rescued 44 foreign migrants in an inflatable boat in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, the third rescue carried out by the force in the region in a month. Following the warning, the Greek boat left Turkey's territorial waters.

A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets of Kardak brought the two countries to the brink of armed conflict in 1996.

"We explicitly expressed to him [Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras] that staying away from tensions will be better, with regards to relations between the two countries", Binali Yildirim, Turkey's prime minister, said on Wednesday.

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German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti during signature ceremony on the side meeting of NATO Defense Ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on Thursday.

He said that to avoid such incidents, Greece and Turkey should be more careful. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed hope that all interested states will act in accordance with worldwide law as regards the situation in Cyprus's EEZ. "But Greece is also a country that must defend its territorial integrity as well as Europe's borders".

European Union leaders are scheduled to meet Turkish President Erdogan in March to discuss relations between the bloc and the membership candidate country.

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