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Greece, Turkey Agree Confidence-Building Measures in the Aegean

Greece Turkey Agree Confidence-Building Measures
Hellenic Navy vessels conducting a joint training exercise with other NATO members, May 2022. Credit: Hellenic Navy

The long-stalled military confidence-building measures between Greece and Turkey resumed on Monday in Ankara.

Delegations from both countries’ defense ministries, as well as civilian officials, focused on crucial measures to be implemented in the Aegean region, which has long been a source of contention.

Among the key points addressed were the establishment of a safety distance between warships, the prevention of low-altitude flights by fighter jets over warships, and the avoidance of dangerous maneuvers by naval vessels.

The measures also aim to minimize long-duration and wide-area warning messages to sea and air traffic and underwater telexes for submarines, said daily Hürriyet.

Plans to create a direct communication line between the headquarters in Eskişehir and Larisa were also disclosed, with the objective of preventing misidentification of aircraft during flights and avoiding incidents between fighter jets, the paper wrote.

Confidence-building talks follow “thaw” in relations between Greece, Turkey

The delegations were led by Turkish minister Yaşar Güler and Haris Lalacos, the secretary-general of the Greek ministry and advisor to minister Nikos Dendias.

The confidence-building meeting builds upon the foundation laid during the Oct. 16-17 talks in Athens between diplomats from Turkey and Greece. Deputy Foreign Ministers Burak Akçapar and Kostas Fragogiannis led the delegations, reviewing progress made since the previous meeting in Ankara on March 22.

Relations between Greece and Turkey have improved since the beginning of the year after the deadly earthquake in Turkey.

Greece was among the first nations to offer assistance.

Since then the leaders of the two countries, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Tayyip Erdogan have met twice and reaffirmed their commitment to improving relations.

During their most recent meeting in September on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York the two leaders endorsed a roadmap that includes confidence-building measures in November, and the meeting of the Supreme Cooperation Council on December 7 in Thessaloniki.

After the meeting, Mitsotakis expressed optimism about the discussions, emphasizing the productive nature of their talks.

Erdogan expressed his positive expectations and hope, stating, “may our meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis be beneficial for our country and region.”

During a September meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis, the Turkish top diplomat said that Ankara has entered a new and positive era in its relations with Athens.

“Ankara and Athens have differences of opinion in the Aegean and Mediterranean. The sides now must bring a new approach to solving their problems,” Fidan told reporters.

The recent thaw in relations is part of a broader trend marked by positive gestures from both nations to strengthen ties. Despite a history strained by territorial disputes, differences in maritime boundaries and political ideologies, recent acts of goodwill signal a turning point in the bilateral relationship.

Related: Athens Outlines Six Principles in Greece-Turkey Relations


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