Greek, Turkish Foreign Ministers Plan Sit Down Over Seas Duel

Αssociated Press

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, meets with Turkey s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on the sidelines of a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (Fatih Aktas/Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP, Pool)

There’s still hot water between Greece and Turkey over rights to the Aegean and East Mediterranean but Foreign Ministers Nikos Dendias and Mevlut Cavusoglu expect to talk this month about how to solve it.

“There is a window of opportunity for better dialogue with Greece right now, and we are planning to meet with a Greek foreign minister who is personally a good friend of mine, Nikos Dendias, in the coming weeks,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with Portugal’s Augusto Santos Silva, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.

But while he reached out to resume exploratory talk on hold for more than four years Turkey again reserved waters it disputes in the Aegean and he said Greece, along with Cyprus, are trying to keep Turkey out.

That includes waters near Mount Athos in the Halkidiki peninsula - in Greek waters with no indication whether Mitsotakis would allow it without a response, and Turkish ships also between Rhodes and Kastellorizo for naval exercises.

“Turkey has been all for equitable sharing in the Eastern Mediterranean. Unfortunately, for many, many years, some EU member states, some Eastern Mediterranean countries, including Greece and some others, and Greek Cypriots ignored Turkey and Turkish Cypriots’ rights,” he said.

“They excluded Turkey from all the initiatives and Turkey was very patient. But recently, it had to start its own activities within its legitimate and registered continental shelf,” he added.

Turkey has long been drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, undaunted by soft European Union sanctions and emboldened to do the same off Greek islands after the bloc set aside Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ demand for sanctions.

Cavusoglu said there’s no longer any chance for reunification of Cyprus where Turkey has occupied the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion, saying negotiations - the last round broke off 3 ½ years ago - would be a “waste of time” after failing for generations.