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World

Turkey invites Greece to resume talks over sea claims

  • Ankara and Athens are at odds over the extent of their continental shelves in the Mediterranean, offshore energy rights, air space and the status of some islands.
  • They held 60 rounds of talks between 2002-2016.
11 Jan 2021

ANKARA: Turkey has offered to resume talks with Greece on conflicting claims in the Mediterranean Sea and other issues this month, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

Ankara and Athens are at odds over the extent of their continental shelves in the Mediterranean, offshore energy rights, air space and the status of some islands.

They held 60 rounds of talks between 2002-2016.

Greece rejected talks planned for last year after Turkey deployed a seismic exploration vessel to disputed waters, but the Oruc Reis has since moved to Turkish shores.

"So Greece has no excuse right now," Cavusoglu said, adding that the talks would cover all issues between the two neighbours who are both members of the NATO transatlantic alliance.

"As Turkey, we want to make an official invitation. As of today, we urge Greece to start exploratory talks, with the first meeting to be held within the month of January," Cavusoglu said.

Under pressure from some European Union (EU) members including Germany, Greece had indicated it could resume talks on Jan. 11, the Turkish minister added.

Greece's Foreign Ministry said it had not received a formal invitation, but was willing to restart talks.

Cavusoglu said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who was in Ankara last week, had tried to bring him together with Greek counterpart Niko Dendias in Tirana, but that Dendias had refused at the time over the Oruc Reis. He said he was ready to meet Dendias in Tirana after the resumption of exploratory talks.

"This is an invitation. I hope Greece does not turn down this opportunity," he said.