Turkey and Greece could soon resume talks over their contested Mediterranean claims but European Union leaders meeting this week will not help if they threaten sanctions, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Sunday.
The NATO members and neighbours have been locked in a bitter dispute over the extent of their continental shelves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month when Turkey sent a vessel to survey for gas and oil in contested waters.
European Union member Greece condemned the move as illegal and pressed, along with Cyprus, for a strong response from EU leaders when they meet on Thursday.
Ankara withdrew the Oruc Reis vessel last week. It described the move as a routine maintenance stop but later said it opened up the chance for diplomacy to reduce tensions with Athens.
“At this point, the climate has become much more suitable for negotiations to begin,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told Dogan News Agency. “...Exploratory talks may start again.”
Last month Greece and Turkey were on the verge of resuming those “exploratory” talks, suspended in 2016. But Turkey broke off contact and sent Oruc Reis into disputed waters after Greece signed a maritime demarcation deal with Egypt, angering Ankara.Last updated: September 20 2020 04:15 PM
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