Will Greece-Turkey talks bear fruit?
After months of intense tensions between Turkey and Greece over maritime borders and gas exploration rights and Turkish military agreements with Libya, Turkish and Greek diplomats are set to resume efforts to restore bilateral ties. Relations between Greece and Turkey have soured after Turkey began exploring for gas in Greek claimed waters and off the coast of Cyprus, sparking controversy.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that his country is ready to work to restore relations with the European Union, especially those that broke down at the end of last year. Turkey wants to open a new page to regain relations with European governments. Both sides welcome the resumption of bilateral relations.The two sides want to resolve their differences over gas exploration rights in the Mediterranean and the Greek military in the islands off the coast of Turkey.
The Ankara government has reached an agreement with the Libyan government on the coast of Libya, deploying naval vessels, while Greece signed a similar agreement with Egypt in August, fueling tensions between the two sides and their conflicts crossed the Aegean, turning into a regional crisis involving other countries along the coast.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called on Greece to resume talks aimed at resolving their differences and called for a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, to restore relations that have deteriorated over the past year. Cavusoglu’s invitation follows Ankara’s decision amid political pressure and sanctions from the European Union. “We want to invite Greece to a meeting to restore relations, and the first meeting will be held in January,” he said.
Meanwhile, the German government on Wednesday welcomed the efforts of both Turkey and Greece to resume direct talks on resolving the long-running maritime dispute. Foreign spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said exploration talks would resume later this month. The Germans described the move as a positive step in the interest of the region and both sides. It hopes that Berlin will restore the confidence of both sides in the region.Greece wants to limit talks on demarcation of maritime zones but Turkey also wants to address the situation in the eastern Aegean islands as well as islands it calls “unspecified ownership. Political analysts say the move is an attempt by the Ankara administration to have a good relationship with US President-elect Biden.