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Greece Sees Relations with Turkey “Calming Down” Over Summer

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Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu met his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias last week in Athens. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias expressed the belief on Thursday that this summer will be a calmer period in relations between Greece and Turkey.

During a discussion at the 9th International Growth Conference, held in Patras, Dendias said that the calmer atmosphere was evident during his recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Athens.

“It was a completely different visit. But we should not be fooled by the fact that the climate was different,” Dendias warned and stressed that important differences do exist.

“(The meeting with Cavusoglu) was different because the differences between Greece and Turkey were clearly expressed in the public speech and were repeated in the context of this visit,” the Greek Foreign Minister said.

The visit came a month after Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias held talks in Ankara where Cavusoglu and his counterpart had a war of words at a joint press conference.

The two Ministers argued in front of cameras during the press conference in a rare heated public exchange. They remained at odds over a number of issues, despite hopes that their meeting could have opened an opportunity to lessen tensions over maritime boundaries and energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey must stop provoking Greece

“Turkey understood most clearly that regardless of whether there are disagreements or whether there are completely different approaches, it must operate in a context that does not provoke Greece and does not violate international law,” he added.

“We hope that in the future Turkey will distance itself from the delinquency that will allow us to create such a climate to discuss our differences and maybe at some point, if Turkey changes its views, we can resolve them.”

Referring to the friendly hug he had with his Turkish counterpart, he said that precisely because of public falling out in the famous April press conference in Ankara, Cavusoglou “wanted to show that personal cordiality has not been affected.”

Extension of territorial waters is Greece’s right

Regarding the extension of our territorial waters, he noted that under the law of the sea and UNCLOS, the extension of territorial waters to 12 miles is Greece’s national sovereign right. “The country will do it when it judges, when it serves its national interest.”

He noted that Turkey has not signed UNCLOS and “is the only country in the world that has sent a threat of war to another country if that other country exercises its legal right. It’s a minority.

“We hope that Turkey now assumes that the manifestation of delinquency is not beneficial for Turkey either and leads nowhere but to the aggravation of our relations,” he said, adding that he hoped Turkey would be just as careful in matters surrounding From Cyprus.

Worst point ever regarding Cyprus

“Turkey invaded Cyprus,” he noted flatly, adding that “it burdens an already extremely difficult problem and makes it even more difficult to solve it.

“We are far behind anything that would allow a hope for a solution to the Cyprus problem. “Unfortunately, the Turkish presence in Geneva a few weeks ago has brought us to the worst point from 1974 until today,” he said.

“This is the first time that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side came and questioned the international framework for a Cyprus solution. Geneva was many steps backwards,” Dendias said.

Negotiations for solving the decades-long division of Cyprus ended in a failure in late April after Turkey demanded a “two-state solution” to the problem.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an uncharacteristically frank admission that the informal talks held this week had failed to find common ground. At the outset of negotiations in Geneva Guterres had said that a date for more talks is being worked out and that he has not given up yet.

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