NEW YORK – While dozens of rounds of talks and so-called Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) aimed at defusing tensions have failed for years, Greece and Turkey – during a detente – are turning back to them to keep the calm.
In a statement after he met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly opening in New York, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a round of talks is coming in November.
The CBMs stopped in 2022 after Erdogan said he would never talk to Mitsotakis again when the Greek leader addressed the US Congress and urged lawmakers to veto President Joe Biden’s plan to sell Turkey more F-16 fighter jets.
Erdogan also wanted the US to upgrade his Air Force at the same time Turkish fighter jets were repeatedly violating Greek airspace and ratcheting up worries of a conflict between the NATO allies, and his threats then of invading.
Those were set aside following a deadly earthquake in Turkey in February, 2022 that saw Greece send recovery teams and Turkey sending condolences after a head-on train collision in Greece killed 57.
Coupled with Turkey’s resumption of wanting to join the European Union, a process that began in 2005 and has stalled under Erdogan’s hardline leadership, it led to the Turkish leader softening his usual belligerence.
He said that the pickup of the CBMs are part of “the current positive climate in relations between Turkey and Greece,” although Mitsotakis said he wants the International Court at The Hague to settle disputes over the seas and sovereignty.
Erdogan and Mitsotakis also affirmed their resolve to follow the road map unveiled during Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis’ visit to Turkey earlier this month, the Turkish statement said, reported Al-Monitor.
The two countries top diplomats are also set to meet for political talks in mid-October and will hold a high-level cooperation council in Thessaloniki in December, the first in seven years during the current rapprochement.
Following their re-elections in Turkey in May and in Greece in June, Erdogan and Mitsotakis first met on the sidelines of NATO’s meeting in Lithuania saying they wanted to keep a “positive agenda” in relations.