Greece and Turkey, Monday, will resume exploratory talks to resolve the dispute over natural gas in the Aegean Sea in the eastern Mediterranean, after a five-year hiatus due to the escalation of tension between the two parties.
The talks, which began in 2002, come after a long break, as the last talks between the two parties were held in Athens in 2016.
So far, the two sides have not agreed on what they want to discuss, as Ankara wants to discuss all thorny issues, and include the shared waters and the special economic zone in the Aegean Sea, in addition to the disarmament of the Greek islands off the Turkish coast, and differences regarding the mutual expansion of the airspace. But Athens only wants to discuss the dispute over natural gas.
According to media reports, the Turkish delegation is headed by Sedat Onal, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Greek delegation is headed by retired diplomat Pavlos Apostolides.
The conflict has raged for several months over natural gas between the two neighboring countries, both of which are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Last year, it almost escalated militarily.
Greece, a member of the European Union, accuses Turkey of exploring for natural gas in marine areas that only Athens can exploit in accordance with international maritime law, and Ankara says that these areas belong to the Turkish continental shelf.
The exploratory talks between Ankara and Athens took place for the first time in February 2002, and this conflict has strained relations between Turkey and the European Union, which imposed sanctions, but did not actually implement them so far.