Greek and Turkish politicians revive clashes over Eastern Mediterranean talks | Greece News

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Tensions between Greece and Turkey over the maritime borders of the eastern Mediterranean were revived as political leaders of the two countries exchanged insults amid NATO’s efforts to foster dialogue.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that his country would only start talks with Turkey to resolve conflicting claims after Turkish “provocations” ceased.

The war of words escalated last month after Turkey dispatched a seismic survey vessel to a disputed area for energy exploration following a maritime deal between Greece and Egypt. Turkey says the pact encroaches on its own continental shelf.

« [Our country] can and wants to discuss the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean Sea, in the Eastern Mediterranean, on the basis of international law. But not under threat, ”Mitsotakis said during a meeting with senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, visiting Athens.

“Once the provocations are over, the talks will begin,” he said, adding that the Greek Foreign Minister would deliver a letter from him describing the Athens case to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when the two will meet in New York on Friday.

Also on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Greece and Turkey, both members of the Western Alliance, had started technical talks, but had yet to agree to an agreement to avoid accidental clashes in the eastern Mediterranean.

Mitsotakis made the remarks during a meeting with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi [Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool via Reuters]

Meanwhile, Turkey accused Greece on Friday of shunning dialogue and lying by denying that it had signed NATO-sponsored talks.

A Greek frigate collided with a Turkish frigate in August and the two NATO members staged rival war games in the energy-rich but contested region last week.

Stoltenberg said the Greek and Turkish leaders “have agreed to start technical talks in NATO to establish military deconfliction mechanisms to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents.”

But Greece said later Thursday that Athens had never agreed to the technical talks, saying Stoltenberg’s statement “did not correspond to reality”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Greece actually accepted the proposal when it was made.

“Greece has denied the (remarks) of the secretary general, but whoever lies here is not the NATO secretary general, it is Greece itself,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

“Greece has shown once again that it is not in favor of dialogue. “

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