Greece Offers Turkey Shared Energy Strategy, Project During Truce

ATHENS – Tensions between Greece and Turkey, which were once close to conflict, have now decreased enough for Greece to propose the idea of participating in energy projects in disputed seas. Ahead of May elections in both countries, which are significant tests for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias suggested that the two countries should seize the moment and capitalize on the decreased tensions.

In an interview with Greece’s state broadcaster ERT, Dendias stated that both sides should sit down after the elections and discuss the possibility of sharing potentially profitable energy projects instead of fighting over them. This proposal assumes that both leaders will return to power.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias emphasized the importance of not wasting the opportunity for cooperation during the current rapprochement between Greece and Turkey. He stated that the situation could easily become more volatile again, which could negatively impact the political atmosphere.

The recent deadly earthquake in Turkey, which saw Greece sending recovery teams, and Turkey sending condolences over a train collision in Greece that killed 57, brought a thaw in the frosty relations between the two countries. Daily and dangerous overflights in the Aegean by Turkish warplanes have ceased, and communication has resumed.

Both countries have an interest in the potential profits from the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, which includes regional states like Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. However, this would require the consent of the other partners, and Turkey has to change its belligerent stance and put on charm offensives to persuade other countries that it wants peace and profits.

Other prospective cooperation includes a nearly $4 billion grid connector that would stream across the Mediterranean. Greece and Egypt want to build this connector in the coming years to tap into lucrative reserves that are currently being explored, as reported by The Voice of America (VOA).

Turkey has disputed Greece’s exclusive claim to certain areas in the eastern Mediterranean, leading to tension and naval standoffs between the two sides in recent years.

The upcoming elections in both Greece and Turkey will have a significant impact on the future of their relationship. Despite the current calm, President Erdogan has renewed territorial claims against Greece during his campaign, as have other Turkish officials, which could reignite tensions.

The New Democracy government of Greece believes that Erdogan is merely making these claims to appeal to his nationalist hard-core base as he faces a challenge to his 20 years of hard-line rule.

Dendias acknowledged that 63 previous attempts to restart constructive dialogue between Greece and Turkey have failed. However, he expressed hope for a 64th attempt after the elections, depending on the results.

In an interview with the Sunday edition of Makedonia newspaper, Dendias stated that Greece is fully aware of the difficulties in its bilateral relations with Turkey. The country hopes to preserve the current calmness and remains focused on its adamant position for sincere and constructive dialogue for the resolution of differences in the context of international law and the international law of the sea, which Turkey does not recognize.

Dendias is convinced that the climate that has been formed in Greek-Turkish relations must continue to ensure the smooth course of the country and not to return to the conditions of instability and uncertainty of the period of the Memoranda, referring to harsh terms attached to international bailouts.


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