Berlin, Germany – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday stressed the need to create the conditions for Turkey and Greece to resolve their problems directly and to avoid “military confrontation,” as the neighbors and NATO allies remained locked in a tense dispute over offshore energy exploration rights.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Berlin, Maas said that “a solution must be found” for the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Greece, adding that if a resolution is not met, relations between the EU and Turkey would become “extremely problematic.”

Turkey and Greece have been quarreling for weeks over Turkey’s decision to carry out seismic research in the waters between the two countries, escorted by Turkish warships – waters which Greece has claimed it has exclusive rights on undersea gas and oil deposits, sending their own warships to observe and track Turkish ships.

Maas noted that an EU summit in late September is already meant to discuss Turkey, and that he was “pretty sure” that a solution “must be found by then for the conflict between Turkey and Greece.” [AP]