Turkey called for the resumption of talks with Greece, which, according to Ankara, could resume in January after a five-year lull.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on Thursday said that he expects to meet with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, in “the coming weeks.”
“There is a window of opportunity for better dialogue with Greece right now, and we are planning to meet with a Greek foreign minister who is personally a good friend of mine, Nikos Dendias, in the coming weeks,” Cavusoglu said, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Earlier in the week, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had also hinted that the parleys would resume, saying: “We believe that problems (between Turkey and Greece) can and should be resolved as part of negotiations.”
Akar said Ankara was prioritizing good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiation.
“We expect, on the one hand, for exploratory talks to start, and on the other, for negotiations to begin under the measures for confidence and confidence-building, as well as the deconfliction talks following the meetings between our president (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg,” Akar stated.
Athens warns about expansion of agenda
Greece is open to exploratory talks with Turkey under the right climate, but has no intention of accepting “an expansion of the agenda,” as Ankara wants.
Athens is concerned that Ankara will try to expand the agenda to include other issues, such as a renegotiation of the Treaty of Lausanne, which established the current borders between the two countries.
For Greece, exploratory talks should focus on an agreed settlement of the issue of the delimitation of the continental shelf.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas has said that “there is a framework, it is clear and it is that of exploratory contacts.”
“We have one difference which is the delimitation of the sea zones. We hope that Turkey will stop the provocative actions and provocative statements and catch the thread from where it was cut in March, 2016,” he said.
Athens is waiting for Ankara to set a date for the talks, as long as “the climate is appropriate, (the Turkish research ship) Oruc Reis is not ‘sailing around’ and as long as there is stability, rather than tactical actions,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in late December.
A report earlier this week in the Greek daily Kathimerini said that that Athens has received assurances that Ankara will desist from gas and oil exploration and other actions seen as challenging Greek sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean.
The Greek government hopes that the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States on Jan. 20 will make Turkish President Erdogan change his ways after often having the upper hand with President Donald Trump, who is widely seen as an admirer of his.