Turkish foreign minister to visit Greece - report

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will pay a visit to Athens on Monday to meet with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, Yeni Şafak newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The possibility of setting up talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14 will be on the foreign ministers’ agenda, as well as other bilateral issues, Yeni Şafak said.

Turkey and Greece have long-standing differences over maritime borders in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, which intensified last year. The two neighbours have fallen out over Turkey’s efforts to explore for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and near Greek islands.

Turkey accuses Greece of trying to exclude it from oil and natural gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean. It says that sea boundaries for commercial exploration should be divided between the Greek and Turkish mainlands and not include the Greek islands on an equal basis.

Ankara says the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognised by Turkey, should receive a fair share from offshore natural gas resources of the disputed island. It also has territorial claims that overlap with Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Athens rejects Turkey’s demands.

In meetings between Çavuşoğlu and Dendias in Ankara last month, diplomatic tensions boiled over at a joint press conference after Dendias accused Turkey of violating Greece’s rights.