Greece and Turkey are close to reviving talks, says government spokesman

Greece and Turkey are close to reviving talks over maritime zones, government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced on Monday.

“We are close to restarting the exploratory talks … There will be an announcement when this is finalized but the atmosphere is good,” he told reporters.

It is recalled earlier this month, the Turkish Oruc Reis research vessel returned to Turkey after violating the Greek and Cypriot continental shelf and maritime space for over a month.

“The withdrawal of the Oruc Reis and Turkish warships from the Greek continental shelf was a positive signal. And Ankara expressed its intention to return to exploratory contacts. In any case, Turkish provocations – which, after all, do not only concern Greece – will be raised at the forthcoming European Council. And alongside the desire of all member-states for cooperation and progress in Euro-Turkish relations, there is a clear framework of sanctions on the table,” Petsas added.

He also confirmed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit Greece for a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to discuss the crisis. It is recalled Pompeo said the United States remains “deeply concerned” about Turkey’s actions at sea, prompting Ankara to demand that Washington be neutral to its aggression against Greece and Cyprus.

Petsas concluded by pointing out that “it is up to Turkey which path to follow: sincere and active de-escalation, or sanctions.”