Greece and Turkey to restart talks in Istanbul.
The videoconference held on Tuesday 22nd September between German Chancellor, Angela Merkel (L), European Council President Charles Michel ,and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Image Credit: AA.
NATO members Greece and Turkey to restart talks soon to resume exploratory talks about the contested maritime claims in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea. The exploratory talks will be the 61st meeting of its kind, the last of which was held in 2016.
It was announced by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after a video conference between him, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EU council President Charles Michel on Tuesday. Mr. Erdogan said that they were open for talks with Greece in exchange for securing better ties with the EU. Mr. Erdogan is hoping that there would be progress in Turkish-EU ties in the September 24-25th EU summit, where he is hoping for a customs union between the EU and Turkey, migration, and visa-free travel.
Last Monday, Greek officials also announced that they will soon resume talks with Turkey. The Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas informed the reporters that ‘We are close to restarting the exploratory talks..There will be an announcement when this is finalized but the atmosphere is good.’
The Greek-Turkish dispute started a few months ago when both countries claimed a contested area as their own. This was followed by several threats to each other, deployment of warships, and several live-fire military drills. The Turkish seismic research vessel, Oruc Reis went to the disputed area to search for natural gas along with several warships. This prompted Greece to deploy warships in the vicinity of the guarded vessel.
Last weekend, Oruc Reis went back to the Turkish shore for maintenance after its month-long mission. Another research vessel took its place, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, which will stay near Cyprus until October 18th, according to the latest NAVTEX issued by Turkey on Friday. Read about the Greek-Turkish disputes here:
In light of the Greek-Turkish situation, six countries on Tuesday signed a charter formally establishing the new intergovernmental body that promotes cooperation over the issue of natural gas in the East Mediterranean. Created in January 2019, the countries that signed were Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, Israel, and Jordan. The new intergovernmental body referred to as the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is Egypt-based and is recognized by the World Bank, European Union, and the United States. The forum excludes Turkey.