Greek FM: Exploratory talks will offer opportunity for de-escalation 2

Following the announcement that Athens and Ankara have agreed to start the 61st round of exploratory contacts in Istanbul, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said he hopes the talks would be an opportunity to stop the escalation of tensions between the two countries.

His comments were made during an online discussion titled ‘The threat of revisionism: Security challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean’, organised by the Konstantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy and the Martens Center for European Studies.

Dendias said these exploratory talks will specify the rules based on which negotiations could restart in the future.

When asked if the withdrawal of Oruc Reis opens a window of opportunity, Dendias said it was not a window because a window is too wide with too much light, but it is rather a sign, a small light, that shows that there is an opportunity.

He noted that Greece, as a peaceful country, would do its part and hoped that Turkey would do the same. “We will take part in this effort and try to restart the exploratory contacts,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry said the talks will be held soon, without specifying the date.

At the same time, Greece and France have both demanded tough sanctions against Ankara, which could be agreed at an EU summit in October.

It is recalled France sent fighter jets and vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean region in support of Greece, which angered Turkey.

According to government officials, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke over the phone late on Tuesday.

French officials said Macron told Erdogan to avoid taking any action likely to raise tension and to “engage without ambiguity in the construction of an area of peace and cooperation in the Mediterranean”.

Turkish officials said Erdogan told his counterpart he expected “common sense and a constructive attitude” from France, claiming that he supports dialogue and cooperation to solve problems.

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