Turkey Won’t Budge Over Seas Dispute, Greece Keeps Trying

ATHENS – Diplomacy to get Turkey to back off plans to hunt for energy around Greek islands and making claims in the Aegean and East Mediterranean isn't working but Greece isn't giving up on that approach.

After a clash in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minster Mevlut Cavusoglu, Greek Foreign Minister told Kathimerini that there's still a chance to resolve differences through negotiations that have gone nowhere.

“It is not possible to hide under the rug issues where we have different views and approaches,” Dendias told the newspaper in an interview where he laid out Greece's stance and what he said was Turkey's intractable position.

Dendias and Cavusoglu met after the Greek foreign chief met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said he will go ahead with drilling no matter what results from talks and that he would ignore any European Union sanctions.

Turkish violations of Greek airspace and having sent an energy research vessel off the island of Kastellorizo were raised frankly by Dendias in a news conference before reporters as he and Cavusoglu sparred, without acrimony.

Dendias told the paper that while the climate during the talks was good, there was no convergence on many issues, noted Reuters in a story about the lingering differences over a number of crucial issues.

“The issue we face with Turkey is that there is no common denominator regarding the framework of resolving our differences,” Dendias told the paper.

He said Greece’s view is that demarcating its Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf with Turkey in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean must be based on international law – which Turkey doesn't recognize.

“I don’t see a toughening of Turkey’s stance on the issues concerning the Aegean and the east Mediterranean. But I do see fixed positions that are beyond international law, which makes resolution prospects difficult but not impossible,” he said.

Dendias said he has invited Cavusoglou to Athens to continue talks and that it could lead to a meeting between Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis but it wasn't said if the Greek leader would be made to go to Turkey.


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