Turkish, Greek officials to meet in capital Ankara: Minister
Turkish and Greek officials will meet in the capital Ankara in the coming days to address issues that have led to rising tensions, Turkey’s defense minister said on July 30.
“We expect to have a meeting with our Greek neighbors in Ankara in the coming days. We try to solve problems with these and similar meetings. Our work continues in this direction,” Hulusi Akar said after prayers for a Muslim holiday in Selimiye Mosque in the northwestern province of Edirne.
Akar said after a visit to the military units on Turkey’s border in Edirne, which neighbors Greece and Bulgaria, on the same day.
Akar was accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyuz, and Naval Forces Commander Adnan Özbal.
“We continue our work with all our neighbors, Greece and Bulgaria, within the framework of good neighborly relations Therefore, we support our activities here within the framework of good neighborly relations. So, our negotiations will continue,” he said.
On July 29, Minister Akar said two of the previous meetings for confidence-building measures were held in Athens, while one of the same kind was held in Ankara and they expect the next one will be held in Turkey’s capital.
On July 29, a Greek official said Athens wants to hold talks on the delimitation of maritime boundaries with Turkey.
At a weekly news conference, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas stressed the importance of open communication channels with Turkey, especially amid rising tensions, referring to the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
He added that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held a phone talk with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis on the arrival of a Turkish energy exploration vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, in the waters off Cyprus shores.
Turkey signed an accord with Libya’s internationally recognized government in November that seeks to create an exclusive economic zone from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore to Libya’s northeast coast.
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. They see it as a cynical resource-grab designed to scupper the development of East Mediterranean gas and destabilize rivals.
Ankara and Athens already have a series of ongoing disagreements due to their respective continental shelves in the Aegean Sea, as well as the militarization of certain Aegean islands and has been in talks for confidence-building measures in the region.