Turkey announced the conduct of new military maneuvers in the Aegean Sea, in response to Greek exercises, while the Turkish foreign minister agreed with his Greek counterpart to hold exploratory talks on the eastern Mediterranean.
The Al-Jazeera correspondent in Ankara confirmed that Turkey announced that it would conduct training exercises with live ammunition in the Aegean Sea on 28 October. This was in response to Greece’s announcement that similar exercises would be held in the Aegean on the 29th of the same month.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in a meeting on the sidelines of the Bratislava Forum for Global Security in Slovakia.
Cavusoglu confirmed that he had agreed with his Greek counterpart to hold exploratory negotiations on the eastern Mediterranean, and that a date would be set during the coming period.
On the other hand, the Turkish foreign minister said that his country is ready to work with the European Union on various common issues, including the crisis in the eastern Mediterranean.
And he renewed his country’s rejection of the policy pursued by Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, and stressed the importance of defusing tension and the absence of conflict between the member states of NATO.
On the other hand, the European Union and Greece demanded that Turkey take the necessary steps to reduce tension in the eastern Mediterranean region.
In a joint statement after talks between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the two sides called on Turkey to enter into what they described as a “constructive dialogue” with Cyprus, Greece and the European Union.
The talks also dealt with the recent developments in the Varosha region of Cyprus, where the two sides stressed the need for full respect for UN Security Council resolutions, and confirmed their intention to work on the basis of the recommendations of the recent European summit.
Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades described the decision of the Turkish Cypriots to reopen the coast of the deserted city of Varosha in northern Cyprus as an illegal move, which constitutes a violation of international law and Security Council resolutions.
In turn, the Greek government spokesman called on Turkey and the northern Cyprus authorities to back off from reopening the Varosha region, and said that Greece and Cyprus are ready to raise the issue before a meeting of European Union leaders next week.
And official Turkish media reported that the Turkish Cypriots had reopened part of Varosha Beach, which has been deserted since the conflict over the divided island in 1974.
The move was supported by Ankara, which recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but the Greek Cypriots condemned it and sparked international concern.
Tensions have escalated between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece, members of the European Union, in recent months over maritime borders and rights to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.