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Turkey says France should refrain from escalating Mediterranean tensions

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday France should refrain from steps that escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara is embroiled in a dispute with Greece over Turkish oil and gas exploration in disputed waters.

The French military conducted training exercises with Greek forces in the region on Thursday, according to defence sources.

Speaking at a televised news conference with his Swiss counterpart in Bern, Cavusoglu said Switzerland had offered to mediate in the eastern Mediterranean dispute and Turkey had agreed in principle, adding Greece would get a response if it provokes the Turkish Oruc Reis survey vessel in the region.

The Greek-Turkish dispute was one of the subjects discussed in a call on Friday between Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump, the White House said, and the two leaders “expressed concern over increased tension between NATO Allies Greece and Turkey”.

Switzerland said it was willing to support a dialogue to defuse the current tensions, as long as this was desired by all parties involved.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Bedminster, New Jersey; Editing by Daren Butler, Giles Elgood and Daniel Wallis

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