ATHENS – Successful in repeatedly staving off European Union talks of sanctions over plans to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands, Turkey is satisfied to just keep talking, even it’s not negotiating or heading toward a resolution.
Turkey’s Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, who sat in on a four-hour chat between Greek and Turkish officials in Constantinople on Jan. 25 that was informal, said exploratory talks between the countries are an “important step.”
That was reported by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency in which he said the talks – a second round due in Athens in March when the EU was again due to take up sanctions – could lead to improving bilateral relations.
He didn’t say that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said Turkey was committed to drilling in any case and after the Turkish leader had dismissed sanctions as useless in hindering his ambitions.
Kalın said: “This is an important step in terms of our relations with our neighbor Greece, the European Union and the balance of power in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean,” after Turkey said only Greece should make concessions.
Kalın said Turkey and the EU want to build an order in which peace and stability prevails in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Gulf Region and Africa although Erdogan’s authoritarian rule has driven his country away from the EU.
“Turkey will try to actualize a foreign policy that is human-, peace- and stability-centered and based on mutual respect of equal actors, taking into consideration the geography and national interests,” said Kalin.
After Erdogan lost a friend in former US President Donald Trump, Turkey is wary of what President Joe Biden – a known Hellenophile – will do, especially after the US ripped Turkey for buying Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.
“We believe that new opportunities in Turkish-American relations will emerge with the start of Biden’s administration. We have started making contacts with our counterparts,” he added.