Greek, Turkish foreign ministers meet after months of East Med tension


The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey met on Thursday for the first time since a dispute emerged between the two NATO members over energy exploration and territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

A dispute between the two NATO allies and longtime rivals over maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean this summer led to fears of open conflict as warships from both sides faced off.

Turkey’s foreign ministry released a short video of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusloglu meeting on the sidelines of the Globsec Forum in Bratislava. The atmosphere of what both sides said was a brief meeting appeared cordial and even jovial as the two, both wearing masks, bumped elbows, patted each other on the shoulder and stood at a table to talk.

A Greek diplomatic official said the two agreed to set a date for the exploratory talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal the contents of the meeting.

READ MORE: Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks after four years
READ MORE: Greek PM calls on Turkey to ‘stop provocations’ and start dialogue

The talks will be the 61st round of a long-running process of talks between Greece and Turkey designed to reduce tension and improve relations that are often testy between the two neighbors.

At odds over a series of issues, including territorial disputes in the Aegean Sea, the two countries have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s. Earlier this summer, Turkey sent a research vessel escorted by warships to prospect for energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean in an area Greece says is over its own continental shelf and where it claims exclusive economic rights.

Greece mobilised its own navy fleet and put its armed forces on standby.

Ankara withdrew its exploration vessels from contested waters last month to “allow for diplomacy” ahead of a meeting of EU leaders. After the summit the bloc said it would punish Turkey if it continued its operations in the region.

Sourced By: Associated Press




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