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Greece ‘open’ to talks with Turkey if Ankara ‘stops provocations’

The foreign minister of Greece says that talks are possible with Turkey if Ankara ceases its provocations.

Nikos Dendias stated to the Proto Thema newspaper that Turkey can choose whether it wants to engage in such a dialogue, but that the fundamental ingredient must be de-escalation.

These two historical enemies have many grievances. They include maritime boundaries, flying right, delineation of their continental shelves, and the division of Cyprus.

Their relationship has been more difficult in recent months.

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According to reports, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, used May’s visit to Washington to oppose Ankara’s plans to purchase fighter jets from Washington. He claimed that Turkey was violating Greek airspace.

Turkey accuses Greece of arming Aegean Islands that should be demilitarized, according to international law. It has also been alarmed at Greece’s increasing defense cooperation with France and the USA.

Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkish President, warned Greece in September that “we could suddenly come suddenly one evening”. He added: “We will not fail defend our country’s rights and interests towards Greece by using every means available, when necessary.”

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Last month, the European Commission stated that Turkish threats were unacceptable and called on Ankara “to seriously work towards de-escalating tension.”

Image: Turkish President Recep Tyyip Erdogan


‘Aggressive revisionist agenda’

In September, also Mr Mitsotakis stated to the UN General Assembly that Turkey was creating a “comprehensive narrative of false claims within the Aegean” as well as pursuing an “ever aggressive revisionist agenda”.

He said, “The growing intensity of the threats is especially alarming.”

On Sunday, Dendias stated that Turkey had increased its flights and violated Greek airspace. His behavior was in line with a “revisionist narrative”.

He said, “The one responsible to a de-escalation of tensions is the one that causes the escalation — which is Turkey.”

Dendias stated that Turkish claims that Greece is not equal in participation diplomatically, militarily and politically were an insult.

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