x

Politics

Mitsotakis Would Meet Erdogan – If Turkey Stops Provoking Greece

ATHENS – With Greece and Turkey set to talk – in Ankara, not Athens – over boundaries in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he'd go so far as to sit down with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but only if provocations stop.

The two sides agreed to pick up so-called Confidence Building Measures (CBM's) that have resulted in no confidence after ending in 2016, relations rapidly worsening after Turkey sent an energy research vessel and warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo before Erdogan pulled them back in favor of talks.

Turkey, under a maritime deal with Libya no other country recognizes, claimed waters around Greek islands where it plans to drill, including Crete, as it has been doing off Cyprus, unimpeded by soft European Union sanctions.

Speaking to the French newspaper Le Figaro – France is aligned with Greece – Mitsotakis said he would consider meeting Erdogan formally when exploratory talks resume at some point, but not as long as the Turkish leader keeps up his belligerent talk about going ahead with drilling no matter the talks outcome.

Let me clarify that the subject of these talks, as in previous rounds, remains unchanged: It is the delimitation of maritime zones. It's the only difference we have with Turkey,” he was quoted as sayingr.

In the meantime, he said, meetings could take place at the level of foreign ministers and may lead to he and Erdogan meeting face-to-face officially although they have met informally on the sidelines of EU meetings.

“I reiterate that we could only consider these options if Turkey stops the provocations,” he added. Mitsotakis though pulled back his demand for EU sanctions on Turkey after Erdogan pulled out his ships.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades also withdrew his demand for penalties for now, which led Turkey to have an energy hunt vessel in Cypriot waters leave but another is still drilling in defiance of the EU.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, refused to back Mitsotakis' call for sanctions and mediated the breakthrough for negotiations.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking after meeting Greece's foreign chief Nikos Dendias, told Turkish state media after the Global Security Forum in Slovakia that no date has been set for the talks, although the EU set a deadline for the end of a year for a resolution.

While offering diplomacy, Turkey kept up the provocations that Mitsotakis said he wanted ended. Turkey issued two navigational telexes reserving areas in the central and southeastern Aegean for exercises using live fire.

It was an area between the islands of Skyros, Praron, Evia and Chios from Oct. 26-28, as well as an area between Rhodes and Kastellorizo, in international and Turkish waters but near Greek islands that Erdogan wants returned to Turkey.

That came after Cavusoglu again disputed Greece's claims for waters around Kastellorizo, which is within sight of Turkey's coast. He said the island can't physically have a Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 40,000-square kilometers (154,444 square miles) around it. 

Erdogan has Merkel that the EU's decision not to impose sanctions, which came after a meeting with Turkish officials, wasn't good enough for him, saying that the bloc had “succumbed to blackmail” from Greece and Cyprus, which said if talks fail they want sanctions.

RELATED

OSLO, Norway — A Taliban delegation led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Sunday started three days of talks in Oslo with Western government officials and Afghan civil society representatives amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Top Stories

Church

BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.

Church

NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.

Events

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.

Video

Greece: Heavy Snowfall is Expected on Monday, Schools to Remain Closed in Attica (Vid)

ATHENS - Schools of all levels of education will remain closed throughout Attica on Monday and Tuesday, January 24-25, due to extreme weather conditions.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.