Turkey, Greece Agree To Resume Talks To Resolve Disputes
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, talks in a televised address, following a cabinet meeting, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Erdogan, who has long called for a reform of the United Nations, says the world body has failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Erdogan claimed the UN was late in "accepting the existence" of the pandemic and had failed to "make its presence felt" for nations requiring help to fight infections. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)
Turkey and Greece are ready to resume talks in a bid to overcome a dispute over maritime boundaries and rights to exploit oil and gas resources, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogans office said Tuesday.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: September 22, 2020, 22:36 IST
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ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey and Greece have agreed to resume talks aimed at resolving long-festering disputes, following a weeks-long standoff between the neighbors over maritime boundaries and rights to exploit offshore oil and gas resources.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement Tuesday that officials from both countries would shortly gather in Istanbul for a 61st meeting resuming so-called exploratory talks that were last held in 2016.
A statement from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said both Turkey and Greece were ready to re-start talks. Earlier, Erdogan held a video conference meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel.
During the meeting, Erdogan also called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute including Turkish Cypriots and said the momentum for dialogue should be protected, according to the statement.
Tensions between the two NATO allies flared over energy prospecting rights in an area between Turkeys southern coast, several Greek islands and the war-divided island of Cyprus. Turkey sent a research vessel, escorted by warships, into the disputed waters this summer.
Following mediation efforts by Germany and others, Turkey pulled back the ship to port and both countries eased their naval presence and halted military exercises, paving the way for a dialogue.
It was not clear when the talks would begin.
Erdogan told Merkel and Michel that steps to be taken by Greece would determine the course of the talks.
The Turkish leader also said he hoped that the next European Union summit would breathe new life into Turkish-EU ties, including allowing Turkish citizens visa-free travel rights to Europe and sealing a new agreement on migration.
EU members Greece and Cyprus had been pushing for EU sanctions against Turkey at the Sept. 24-25 summit meeting due to Turkey’s search for energy inside Cyprus’ economic zone. But the summit has been postponed for a week because Michel has gone into quarantine after a close collaborator was diagnosed with COVID-19.
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