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Turkey says open to talks but doesn't rule out Hague

TAGS: Turkey, Diplomacy

In what was seen as an attempt at diplomatic grandstanding, Turkey on Friday said it does not exclude the possibility of resolving its differences with Greece at the International Court of Justice at The Hague while at the same time berating Athens for refusing Ankara’s invitations to restart exploratory talks.

In a statement on Friday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed at his meetings with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in New York and London reinvigorating “all dialogue channels with Greece, including the exploratory talks.” He added that Erdogan “is even prepared to start a new dialogue channel for the Eastern Mediterranean.” 

Aksoy said this was Turkey’s approach during exploratory talks held between 2002 and 2016, which, he said, were suspended upon the request of Greece. He also said Greece was violating the demilitarized status of the Aegean islands and that it expressed reservations in 1993 regarding the International Court’s jurisdiction on the matter.

He added that Turkey “would like to address the issue of violation of the demilitarized status of the Aegean Islands together with the other Aegean disputes with a view to resolve them through dialogue. In doing so we also do not exclude any means of peaceful settlement to be mutually agreed by both sides, including International Court of Justice,” he added.

He accused Greece of not cooperating, complaining to the European Union and seeking solutions from third parties. “Greece is gravely mistaken if she thinks that she would obtain results through third countries whenever she faces difficulties,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Mitsotakis said in an interview with the Politico website that Turkey’s memorandum with the Tripoli government in Libya is another reflection of Ankara’s aggressive and illegal behavior in the region which is further complicating the situation in the North African country.

He reiterated Athens’ request to be included in any new talks concerning the situation in Libya, noting that it was wrong to be excluded in the discussions held in Berlin last week. “I want to be very clear: Greece is the closest neighbor to Libya, it’s a pillar of stability… We’re not part of the problem, we’re part of the solution,” he added, noting that the issue is not limited to internal power struggles in Libya.

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