Washington Post: A Breakthrough Could Be Near in Greece-Turkey Dispute

Αssociated Press

(Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

ATHENS -- "With a strong nudge from the United States and Germany, Greece and Turkey have agreed to resume long-stalled negotiations to draw maritime boundaries in the contested waters of the Eastern Mediterranean," the Washington Post said in an opinion article on Thursday.

"The agreement to resume talks, confirmed by U.S. and Greek officials, comes after a four-year suspension. By the end of this month, the two countries hope to meet for exploratory discussions that could eventually resolve the maritime issue, perhaps through third-party arbitration or referral to the international court in The Hague," the newspaper said.

According to Washington Post, the crisis seemed near a flash point earlier this month, with belligerent rhetoric from Ankara and Athens. The escalating tension mobilised action by the larger powers, which have watched Erdogan’s drive for regional hegemony with growing anxiety.

A sign of the United States’ concern was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Cyprus on Sept. 12, when he cautioned: "We remain deeply concerned about Turkey’s ongoing operations searching for natural resources … in the Eastern Mediterranean." Two weeks earlier, Pompeo had eased limits on sales of less-lethal weapons to Cyprus.

Pompeo will reinforce this message with a visit to Greece on September 27 and 28. He is scheduled to tour a Greek naval base at Souda Bay with Mitsotakis and discuss Greek-U.S. military cooperation. Pompeo won’t be visiting Ankara on the trip, perhaps a sign that he and other U.S. officials are peeved by Erdogan’s recent attempts to project power in the region, the newspaper reported.