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Greece, Turkey signal willingness to talk about sea dispute

SeattlePI.com Sunday, 13 September 2020
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — After weeks of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey have signaled a willingness to start talks aimed at resolving a long-standing sea dispute tied to potentially lucrative offshore gas deposits. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the return of a Turkish survey ship to port Sunday from a disputed martime area at the heart of the summer standoff between Greece and Turkey over energy rights. Mitsotakis said he was ready to try to restart long-stalled talks, signaling that the two countries could be inching toward negotiations after weeks of increasingly bellicose rhetoric. Exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey over the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone rights were last held in 2016. Turkey's Oruc Reis research ship returned to near the southern port of Antalya for the first time in more than a month after Turkey announced in July that it was dispatching a vessel to work in waters where Greece claims jurisdiction.

“This is a positive first step,” Mitsotakis told reporters in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. “If we see signs of deescalation in practice ... I will be the first to sit at the negotiating table."

The deployment of the research vessel triggered a military build-up in the eastern Mediterranean. Nominal NATO allies Turkey and Greece both dispatched warships to the area where the Oruc Reis was engaged in seismic research and conducted military exercises to assert their claims.

“In areas where there is no maritime delimitation, there can be no unilateral actions, and that has what Turkey has been doing in recent weeks,” Mitsotakis said.

NATO intervened, organizing talks between the two countries’ militaries to prevent a potential conflict. Turkey had also come under increasing international pressure to withdraw...
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Video Credit: Euronews English - Published
News video: US urges Turkey to back diplomacy amid mounting tensions with Greece in Mediterranean

US urges Turkey to back diplomacy amid mounting tensions with Greece in Mediterranean 01:50

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Turkey to engage in dialogue and take no more actions to increase tensions with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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