Turkey, Greece to hold regular political consultations after EastMed dispute
“In the framework of regular political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Greece, talks will be held in Ankara on 10 January 2020 between delegations under the chairmanship of H.E. Ambassador Sedat Önal, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris, secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece,” said a Foreign Ministry statement on Jan. 9.
During the political consultations, bilateral relations, regional and international issues will be addressed, the statement added.
Turkey signed an accord with Libya’s internationally recognized government that seeks to create an exclusive economic zone from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore to Libya’s northeast coast.
Turkey’s move has thrown a spanner into the works of efforts by Greek Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt to develop east Mediterranean gas, putting a barrier across a proposed pipeline that would run from Israeli and Greece-Greek Cyprios waters to the Greek island of Crete, on to the Greek mainland and into Europe’s gas network via Italy.
The $7-9 billion pipeline would have to cross the planned Turkey-Libya economic zone.
Greece and Greek Cyprus, which have long had maritime and territorial disputes with Turkey, say the accord is void and violates the international law of the sea. Greece has expelled Libya’s ambassador to Athens and filed a complaint with the United Nations.
In retaliation, Greece, Greek Cyprus and Israel have signed a deal in early January for the EastMed pipeline designed to move gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.
The 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) pipeline will be able to transfer between nine and 12 billion cubic meters a year from offshore gas reserves between Israel and Greek Cyprus to Greece, and then on to Italy and other southeastern European countries.
Turkey argues that the Greek Cypriot government should not have started gas explorations before reaching a settlement in reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriots, and that the mineral wealth belonged to both communities.
It is estimated that the transfer cost of the natural gas would be three times cheaper if the pipeline passes through Turkey.