Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday the Aegean should be a “sea of friendship” between Greece and Turkey in comments that may signal Ankara’s intention to de-escalate the crisis between the two NATO allies.
His remarks came a day after he and Greek premier Alexis Tsipras spoke over the phone and discussed the incident on Monday night when a Turkish coast guard patrol vessel rammed a Greek boat near the Imia islets.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet, Yildirim said: “We explicitly expressed to him [Tsipras] that staying away from tensions will be better, with regards to relations between the two countries.”
He said the Aegean Sea should be a “friendship” sea between Turkey and Greece.
He added that the two premiers agreed to ease tensions and keep communication lines open via political and diplomatic channels.
According to Greek sources, Yildirim claimed, speaking on the phone to Tsipras, that Monday’s incident was not the result of a deliberate action.
Earlier, the U.S. Department of State called on the two countries to de-escalate the crisis.