"Diplomatic Win" for Greece When Turkey Backed Off Energy Hunt

Αssociated Press

In this photograph taken from the Mediterranean shores near the city of Antalya, Turkey, a view of the research vessel Oruc Reis, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Semih Ersozler/DHA via AP)

ATHENS - Turkey's decision not to go ahead with sending an energy research vessel into waters off the Greek island of Kastellorizo ratcheted down tension between the countries who had been at the point of a conflict, but in some quarters was hailed as a Greek victory.

Former US Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Michael Carpenter, responding to Turkey pulling back for now and offering negotiations after Greece's New Democracy government put the military on high alert, tweeted support for Greece.

“The Greek government achieves an important diplomatic win by de-escalating tensions with Ankara,” tweeted Carpenter, Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 2015 to 2017.

“Going forward, Turkey’s aggressive actions in the eastern Med and [the] Aegean must be met with a strong, coordinated US-EU response,” Carpenter added, while posting a link to an article by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on developments in the region, said the Greek paper Kathimerini.

Turkey earlier offered diplomatic talks but only on the condition that Greece make concessions and now Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias repeated that while open to talking that it won't be done under duress.

Speaking on state broadcaster ERT, Dendias criticized Turkey for issuing “threats and deadlines,” adding that dialogue cannot be held “at gunpoint,” adding that there's no timetable for discussions after communications broke off between the countries.

With the tension winding down but Greece's military still on alert, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was said to be thinking of shaking up his Cabinet, a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of taking power.

Mistotakis will announce changes a day before he leaves on holiday – or these changes will be postponed to the end of August after the summer break, said Kathimerini, suggesting he's leaving it up in the air now which way he could go.

Who will be involved in the changes wasn't speculated but the paper said the new makeup of ministers would be focused on managing the 72 billion euros ($84.58 billion) Greece is getting in COVID-19 aid in loans and grants from the European Union.