The world – Europe
“We hope that the problems will be addressed during our discussions with Greece on the basis of right, law, fairness and a solution,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said during the launching ceremony of a home-made frigate in Istanbul.
Akar added, “We expect our neighbors and allied countries to respect our rights in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and to avoid actions that may lead to a wrong understanding.”
In a related context, the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said in a press interview published on his official website that the exploratory talks between the two countries, which are expected the day after tomorrow after a hiatus since 2016, are “informal and non-binding.”
Dendias asserted that the exploratory discussions “are not negotiations, and their purpose is to explore points of agreement and opportunities for future negotiation on a single issue.”
He indicated that the talks are “informal … and do not entail any obligations on any party.” He also stressed that “no issue related to national sovereignty, including the issue of removing military manifestations from the islands,” will not be discussed during the exploratory talks.
“In the absence of an agreement through the negotiations that may follow the exploratory discussions, the two parties will need to agree on a common text to be submitted to the International Court of Justice,” he said.
Greece and Turkey are accusing each other of signing illegal agreements to delineate the boundaries of marine areas that do not take into account the interests of the other party.
The eastern Mediterranean region is witnessing noticeable tension due to the Turkish ship exploration activities for energy sources there. While Turkey says that the exploration area falls within its continental shelf, Greece and Cyprus assert that the area is not on the Turkish shelf and that the exploration operations violate international laws.
Turkey and Greece agreed to start technical negotiations within the framework of NATO (NATO) to reduce the risk of accidents in the eastern Mediterranean. The talks between Turkish and Greek forces began in Brussels on September 10, 2020. After the talks that took place in early October of last year, NATO announced the establishment of a mechanism to prevent conflicts in the eastern Mediterranean region between Turkey and Greece. The established mechanism provides, in particular, for the establishment of a “hot line” for communication between Turkey and Greece in the event of a collision or other accidents.
And earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the exploratory talks on the existing crisis in the eastern Mediterranean region would mark the beginning of a new era, and called for transforming the eastern Mediterranean into a lake for cooperation instead of being an arena for competition.