Greece Willing to Talk Turkey, Without the Pressure Cooker


The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – Set to try to set an agenda for talks with Turkey over its provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, Greece said again any negotiations would be based on Turkey pulling back its belligerent tone.

Greece is open to a dialogue with Turkey but not under threats, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said,  and that talks must take place “in the framework of international law, the international law of the sea and good neighborly ties,” conditions which haven't worked out yet.

He said Greece’s only dispute with Turkey concerns the delimitation of the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn't recognize and said it planned to hunt for oil and gas off Greek islands, including Kastellorizo, Crete and Rhodes.

After being near the brink of a conflict over Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean – Greece puts its military on high alert – the countries have set a deadline for the end of August to try diplomacy that has repeatedly failed.

Officials are trying, said Kathimerini, to establish the boundaries for negotiations to deal with Turkey's claims for waters off Greek islands where it planned to hunt for oil and gas as it's been doing in Cypriot waters, undeterred by the European Union.

The groundwork for exploratory talks – talking about what talks will be talked if they eventually talk – is being set, the paper said, with Germany taking a key role as a broker to settle their differences.