Greece Says Coming Talks With Turkey Aren't Negotiations, Just Talks


The Foreign Affairs Ministry. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS - Scheduled Jan. 25 talks in Constantinople - not Athens - with Turkey over disputing claims to the Aegean and East Mediterranean won’t be used to bargain, said Greece, just to talk about the differences.

The so-called exploratory talks will be the 61st round, the first in four years and focused on Turkey’s push to hunt for oil and gas off Greek islands under a maritime deal with Libya no other country recognizes.

Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Alexandros Papaioannou told reporters that the secret talks will be kept that way as always, with government officials on both sides controlling the narrative about what is released to the peoples of both countries.

“They are not negotiations. They are contacts. No obligations or commitments are made between the two parties. No minutes are kept. No third party is involved, it is only between the two sides. No briefings are made on the content of the exploratory contacts,” he said.

Papaioannou said they are non-binding to explore the “points of convergence” for possible future negotiations for the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

That being the case it would mean no progress in the stalemate between the countries although the European Union said unless there’s an agreement before a March meeting of bloc leaders that sanctions against Turkey could be discussed, although not saying whether those would be talks or negotiations on the table.