Turkey Backs Down From Conflict with Greece (For Now)



Turkey announced on Tuesday that it will “put on hold for a while” energy-exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that have raised tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, revealed that Erdogan said “let’s follow a constructive approach and put them on hold for a while.”

Ankara is also seeking a discussion with Athens about issues surrounding the countries’ continental shelves, air space and offshore hydrocarbon exploration, Kalin said in a televised interview with CNNTurk news channel.

Kalin said Turkey is ready to enter comprehensive negotiations with Greece “without preconditions.”

Long-standing tensions between the NATO allies escalated last week after Turkey’s navy on Tuesday issued an advisory known as a Navtex for seismic surveys in waters between Cyprus and Crete.

Athens and Nicosia warned that the advisory is null and void since the planned surveys were within the Greek and Cypriot continental shelves.

On Monday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias announced that “at the request of Greece, a broad consensus was reached in the European Union to proceed with a list of further measures if Turkey continues its delinquent attitude.”

The Minister made his remarks after the end of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Brussels.

He added that he spoke at the FAC meeting about “the serious implications of Turkish delinquency on security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean,” and how Greece’s partners expressed solidarity with both Greece and Cyprus “against illegal Turkish actions, which are carried out to the detriment of our sovereignty and sovereign rights.”