ATHENS – Greek officials and diplomats expect Turkey will try again to change the agenda of exploratory talks aimed at settling differences over sea rights to include previous demands Greece remove troops off islands near Turkey’s coast.
Turkish officials have ignored Greek proposals for the coming discussion in March after a Jan. 25 sit down in Constantinople that was a non-binding chat not meant to be a serious negotiation.
The two sides can’t even agree on when to meet in March with the European Union on March 25 to take up for a third time the dilemma between the countries after twice setting aside Greek demands for sanctions over Turkey’s plan to search for oil and gas in waters around Greek islands.
Indeed, instead of calming the waters before the talks, Turkey sent an energy research vessel into the Aegean and conducted an air drill under its Blue Homeland doctrine which claims large swathes of the seas and Greek islands.
Turkey also objected to Greek warships being off the Greek island of Kastellorizo in Greek waters, parts of which Turkey claims under a maritime deal with Libya no other country recognizes.
It now appears, said Kathimerini, that Turkey will push the limits and not agree to sit down as previously promised until just before the EU meeting at which the bloc’s leaders are expected to defer yet again to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.