The Greek government said that there is a possibility of communication between the Turkish president and the Greek prime minister, while Turkey demanded that Greece not miss the diplomatic opportunity again, while the European Commission welcomed the resumption of negotiations between the two countries.
Greek government spokesman Stilos Bestas said that the possibility of communication between the Greek prime minister and the Turkish president still exists before the European summit.
Bestas described the announcement of the resumption of exploratory negotiations between the two countries as a positive step, indicating that this is a result of the steps taken by Turkey to reduce the escalation.
For his part, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that the announcement of the resumption of exploratory negotiations between his country and Turkey will be in the form of talks at this stage and not negotiations, in order to lay the foundations and rules that will be negotiated.
On Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry announced that exploratory talks with Turkey would start again soon. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said, “An agreement has been reached between Greece and Turkey to hold the 61st round of exploratory talks in Istanbul soon.”
The first round of exploratory talks between the two countries began in 2002, and the last round, number 60, was held on March 1, 2016, in the Greek capital, Athens.
After that date, negotiations between the two countries continued in the form of political consultations, without returning to an exploratory framework again.
Erdogan discusses relations with Europe
In this context, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed, today, Wednesday, with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, relations with the European Union and developments in the eastern Mediterranean.
Erdogan indicated – in the meeting that took place through “video conference” and lasted for 40 minutes – that Greece and Cyprus’ disregard for the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots through “extremist claims” is the basis of the issue in the eastern Mediterranean, according to a statement issued by Office of the Contact Department of the Turkish Presidency.
He added that Turkey stood by the dialogue to solve the problem from the beginning, indicating Turkey’s willingness to start exploratory talks between Ankara and Athens, expressing his wish that Greece would not waste the diplomatic opportunity again, as it did in the past.
For her part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the resumption of talks between Turkey and Greece on tension in the eastern Mediterranean.
In a tweet she posted on Twitter, she indicated that the meeting with Erdogan witnessed an “extremely useful” exchange of views on developments in the eastern Mediterranean and immigration, and said she welcomes the fact that talks will start between Turkey and Greece.
She stressed that the talks are important to the stability of the eastern Mediterranean and constructive relations with the European Union.
Turkey says ignoring its rights in the eastern Mediterranean is the cause of tension (Anadolu Agency)
For his part, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, said that Turkey and Greece are important allies, and that NATO is a platform for dialogue.
In a tweet today, he said on Twitter that he discussed with Erdogan by phone the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, and the ongoing efforts at NATO headquarters on ways to end the military conflict, aimed at preventing unwanted incidents.
In a press conference held by Stoltenberg after his meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at NATO headquarters in the Belgian capital Brussels, Stoltenberg said today, Wednesday, that the technical talks between Turkey and Greece on the eastern Mediterranean “have made good progress.”
Stoltenberg indicated that technical talks are continuing between Turkey and Greece to discuss ways to resolve the eastern Mediterranean conflict, adding that several meetings have been held to date, and good progress has been made.
He explained that the technical meetings are technical military meetings, and that the German diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute between the two sides are complementary to the Turkish-Greek meetings.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) also urged European Union leaders to support dialogue between Turkey and Greece.
The international organization published an article today under the title “How to reduce tension in the eastern Mediterranean,” in which it said that European leaders should welcome the steps of Athens and Ankara towards reconciliation and support dialogue between them.
The organization recommended Turkey and Greece to continue the military-technical negotiations, and to refrain from maneuvers and tensions in the region.
An Emirati Greek military meeting
On the other hand, the Greek Defense Ministry said that a meeting took place between the Greek and Emirati chiefs of staff at the “Souda” military base on the island of Crete.
The ministry added in a statement that the two sides inspected the conduct of joint exercises between the two countries, and the Emirati soldiers on the island.
The Greek Minister of Defense also met in Athens with the UAE Chief of Staff, and they discussed military relations between the two countries.