Turkey vows continued dialogue with Greece

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has paid a much-anticipated visit to the Turkish capital to discuss the bilateral relations and problems stemming from the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean as part of mutual efforts to normalize the strained ties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received the Greek top diplomat before he held extensive talks with his host, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on April 15.

Çavuşoğlu, in an interview with the private broadcaster NTV before the talks, highlighted the need for the continued dialogue between the two neighbors for healthy relations. “We have always been ready to sit around the same table and discuss all our problems. We cannot perhaps resolve all the problems in just one meeting but we can create a positive environment. Our dialogue has been resumed after a long break,” Çavuşoğlu stated.

Differences in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and on Cyprus are the issues the two sides are discussing, the Turkish minister said.

“There is no need [for the mediation] of the European Union or any other third party. We cannot resolve our problems on our own as we openly speak about all of them. It’s important for us to endure our dialogue.”

Turkey and Greece were at odds over the overlapping continental shelf claims in the eastern Mediterranean as the former had signed a maritime demarcation agreement with Libya and the latter with Egypt. The EU has also got involved in the Turkish-Greek tension and threatened Turkey with sanctions in the case of continued unilateral hydrocarbon activities in the disputed waters.

Turkey and the EU have recently reconciled after the latter proposed to revive a positive agenda with the Turkish government. Turkish and Greek diplomats held two round of technical talks since late January on issues concerning the Aegean and Mediterranean.

On a question about Greek-Libyan dialogue for negotiating a maritime demarcation agreement, Çavuşoğlu said it was normal for all the countries to come together and discuss such things but Tripoli has already announced that it will remain loyal to the agreement with Turkey.

Cyprus talks looming

Çavuşoğlu will visit Turkish Cyprus on April 16 before the scheduled U.N.-led meeting on the Cyprus question slated for April 27.

“Launching a new negotiation process to discuss a federal solution is a waste of time. We have already stated we won’t negotiate federation. No solution will be found even though we would negotiate it for another 20 or 30 years. Because Greek Cyprus is not willing to share power with the Turkish Cypriots,” Çavuşoğlu stated.

“We have negotiated for 53 years. It’s meaningless to insist on the impossible,” he said, reiterating that both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government want a two-state solution in line with the reality.

Hurriyet Daily News

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