A discussion between Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has been exposed, according to Ta Nea.
Initial discussions on the issue of Turkish delinquency on the Greek continental shelf in the East Mediterranean took place last week when Stoltenberg was in Berlin, where, in addition to Panagiotopoulos, he also met with German Defense Minister Annegret Krab-Karrenbauer.
The issue surfaced late Thursday afternoon, when a statement was posted on the NATO website and on Stoltenberg’s Twitter. The NATO chief said that after contacting the leaders of Greece and Turkey, “the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish deconfliction mechanisms and reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the East Mediterranean.”
However, Athens’ denial of Stoltenberg’s sudden announcement that Greece and Turkey are ready to start a technical dialogue within NATO was resounding and immediate – it was made in only a few minutes, as previously reported by Greek City Times.
Panagiotopoulos: As long as so many ships remain at this point the risk of something happening due to overcrowding, fatigue and tension of many ships in such a limited area increases.
Okay. What can I do?
To mediate so that a way can be found for [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to withdraw all the ships immediately.
And Oruç Reis?
Of course, Oruç Reis. If the warships withdraw, that too will go away, because it never leaves unaccompanied by warships.
After the reaction of Athens, Stoltenberg reconstructed what he said.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas commented on SKAI on Saturday morning that the move should not have been made by Stoltenberg.
Athens reiterated that it is always willing and ready for a dialogue with Turkey and in no case does its reaction want to be perceived as an attempt to “ruin” it. He made it clear, however, that the necessary condition for any kind of talks to begin is for Turkey to end provocative military operations in the eastern Mediterranean by withdrawing all its warships and the Oruç Reis research vessel that is illegally exploring for gas and oil in the Greek continental shelf.