An official visit to Ankara and a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has been scheduled in three weeks for Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, as revealed earlier today by Cavusoglu, only a day after the verbal confrontation between the two countries’ representatives at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The Turkish Minister said that he spoke on the phone today with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the two men agreed in the necessity of a bilateral meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers.
“We try to improve our relations with Greece. At the end of the month, Mr. Venizelos will visit our country in Ankara. The technocrats continue our talks on the Aegean Sea and the continental shelf. At the same time, we are talking with Greece to avoid increasing tension in Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus is affecting the relations between Turkey and Greece,” Cavusoglu underlined, adding that both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots have a right over the exploitation of the island’s natural resources. “Because of the measures we have taken for the extraction of oil and natural gas, Mr. Anastasiades left the negotiation table. We do everything we can for peace,” the Turkish Foreign Minister stressed.
The presence of the Turkish research vessel “Barbaros,” escorted by a battleship of the Turkish Navy, in Block 3 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since October 20 for natural resources research, has caused a strong reaction from the Cypriot side. Greek and Cypriot governments have both reacted, stating they will take measures against Turkish provocations, while Nicosia has threatened Ankara to block its EU talks. According to the NAVTEX statement, the “Barbaros” is scheduled to carry out seismic surveys for natural gas resources until the end of December.