Turkey and Greece to return to the negotiating table following EU summit

Bilateral talks between Greece and Turkey are to resume following on from the EU summit on September 24-25, according to Greek website Ekatherimini on Sunday.

The website reported that “announcements are expected imminently regarding the resumption of exploratory contacts” between Greece and Turkey. The development comes after diplomatic efforts by the two countries’ NATO allies in Washington, Berlin and Brussels to get Athens and Ankara back to the negotiating table.

On August 25, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, said that Turkey and Greece were ready for new talks, though officials from both countries continued to trade rhetorical blows over their competing claims to access of gas reserves in the Mediterranean.

Ekatherimini reported that there had been a “teleconference on Friday between the diplomatic advisers of Greece, Turkey and Germany, Eleni Sorani, Ibrahim Kalin and Jan Hecker respectively”, which led to the forthcoming announcement that Turkey and Greece would now hold bilateral talks.

Last week, Turkey had withdrawn the research vessel Oruc Reis from disputed waters between Greece and Turkey, a move seen as opening the possibility for renewed dialogue.

Turkey now seems to have backed away from further conflict, perhaps wary of the possibility of economic sanctions by the EU at a time when inflation is taking a heavy toll on real wages in the Turkish economy.

Turkey’s Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said “Threats of blackmail and of sanctions against Turkey does not give results. European politicians should know this by now”, according to Arab News.

In a Tweet on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “By heeding every sincere call, we intend to give diplomacy as much space as possible, and we intend to solve problems in a win-win situation through dialogue. With this vision, we will continue to defend every drop of water and piece of our land to the end.”