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Politics

Greece, Turkey OK Cooling-Off Period, But Some Sparks Might Fly

ATHENS – Fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might embolden Turkey to make a move on Greece have apparently lessened Greek and Turkish officials said they would lessen tension so as not to upset NATO, to which they belong.

That comes after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said they would keep communications open and back away from provocations.

NATO – which has refused to intervene over Turkish violations of Greek airspace and waters – has a keen geopolitical interest in the Black Sea where Turkey controls access, and has blocked warships.

Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar had agreed the same when they met on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels.

But Kathimerini said that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, despite the apparent truce, would still raise issues of contention between the countries when he meets United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

That includes not only Turkey’s on and off belligerence and threats that Greece extending its maritime boundaries from 6 to 12 miles would be a cause for war and repeated provocations on Cyprus, where Turkey has occupied the northern third since unlawful 1974 invasions.

Dendias has also reportedly decided, despite the constant reversals to his program due to the war in Ukraine, to also pursue other diplomatic initiatives not tied to Turkey, the paper said.

That includes going to India to try to further relations, a country that Greece considers to be of strategic importance and also then visiting Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia and The Philippines.

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