Breaking: Turkey, Greece start round of exploratory talks on maritime dispute
Greece and Turkey have begun another round of exploratory talks on a long-standing dispute over energy exploration and territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Diplomatic sources said the latest round of talks, meant to lay the ground for formal negotiations between the two sides, had resumed in a central Athens hotel on Tuesday.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had said earlier that he was willing to meet his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, but that any meeting “must take place in the right atmosphere.”
The meeting is not expected to make major headway since the two NATO member states clashed over their agenda in recent weeks. Greece wants to limit the discussions to continental shelf borders and the size of exclusive economic zones in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean Seas. But Ankara, which accuses Athens of illegally stationing troops on some of its islands, wants to discuss aerial zones and issues of “national sovereignty.”
Officials from both sides met in January after months of tensions in the sea. The dialog was held following a five-year hiatus in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Athens and Ankara held some five dozen rounds of talks between 2002 and 2016, which they broke off without making progress.
Greece and Turkey have been locked in a long-lasting territorial dispute over natural resources in the Mediterranean Sea. Tensions between the two escalated last year after Turkey began a military-backed hydrocarbon exploration venture in waters between Greece and Cyprus.
Turkey’s discovery of major gas deposits in the waters sparked anger in Greece, which responded with naval drills.
Siding with Athens, France also deployed its frigates and fighter jets to the region.