Pope Francis has called for dialogue and respect for international law in the Eastern Mediterranean, as tensions between Turkey and Greece are growing in the last few weeks.

Without naming any country involved in the conflict, his Holiness said he is following with concern the tensions in the region.

“I appeal for constructive dialogue and respect for international law to resolve the conflicts that threaten the peace of the peoples of that region,” the Pontifex said in a tweet on Monday.

During his Sunday Angelus, the Head of the Catholic church also prayed for the “instability” in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Pope Francis’ call was welcomed by Turkey, whose Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun tweeted:

“I welcome @Pontifex statement on the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey calls on Greece, among others, to respect international law, instead of militarizing the Aegean islands and laying claim to our Blue Homeland.”

“The Mediterranean should be a sea of peace and stability,” he added.

Tensions between Ankara and Athens have escalated after the Turkish research vessel, Oruc Reis was deployed in Greece’s territorial waters. While Greece and Cyprus are pushing for sanctions against Ankara over its illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the EU is tooting dialogue between the two sides.

The EU27 leaders have expressed their solidarity with the two countries threatened by Turkey’s aggression, with the bloc’s top diplomat set to present a list of targeted sanctions against Turkey.

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