Greece and Turkey agreed on Monday to continue talking during the first round of contacts after a five-years hiatus.
The meeting in Istanbul between senior diplomats from both sides lasted for more than three hours.
According to Greek diplomatic sources, it was agreed that the next round of talks will take place in Athens in the near future.
Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, a close associate of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also took part in the talks, said in a tweet that “it is possible to solve all problems.”
“Under the strong leadership of our President, it is possible to solve all problems, including the Aegean, and we have our will for this. Regional peace and stability is in everyone’s interest,” Kalin added.
Türkiye ile Yunanistan arasında dört buçuk yıldır yapılmayan istikşafi görüşmeler bugün İstanbul’da başladı. Cumhurbaşkanımızın güçlü liderliğinde Ege dahil tüm sorunların çözümü mümkündür ve bunun için irademiz tamdır. Bölgesel barış ve istikrar herkesin menfaatinedir. pic.twitter.com/fOdG410eLa
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) January 25, 2021
German foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Adebahr on Monday expressed her satisfaction over the resumption of exploratory talks.
“We are happy that the direct talks, that had been interrupted in 2016, are starting again today and in the framework of our presidency in the EU Council we supported and worked hard in order for such direct talks to take place,” said Adebahr, and noted that last week Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was in Ankara again for this reason.
“Which issues, which solutions and what steps will be agreed there is a matter for the two sides and I believe it is good not to comment from the outside a process that begins but for the two sides to decide on the topic of the discussion and all the other issues between them.
“We hope it will be possible to once again establish a mutual confidence and trust between the two sides…in order to for a good solution to be found jointly in the framework of international law,” Adebahr concluded.
Greece draws ‘red lines’
Greece has clearly stated that it is coming to the 61st round of exploratory contacts with confidence, in good faith, a spirit of cooperation, a constructive climate and the hope that the talks will lead to de-escalation and that the Turkish side will come in a similar spirit.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias underlined in an interview published on Saturday there are some issues which “are not up for discussion”, such as those concerning “national sovereignty and the demilitarization of Greek islands.”
In any case, continued the minister, exploratory talks “are not negotiations, they are informal, there are no minutes taken during the meetings, and neither side has to assume responsibilities or make commitments.”