Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said that he expects to meet with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, in “the coming weeks,” while indicating efforts to restart to exploratory talks between the two countries.
“There is a window of opportunity for better dialogue with Greece right now, and we are planning to meet with a Greek foreign minister who is personally a good friend of mine, Nikos Dendias, in the coming weeks,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with Portugal’s Augusto Santos Silva, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.
However, Cavusoglu also reiterated accusations that Athens and Nicosia have sought to prevent Turkey from exercising its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Turkey has been all for equitable sharing in the Eastern Mediterranean. Unfortunately, for many, many years, some EU member states, some Eastern Mediterranean countries, including Greece and some others, and Greek Cypriots ignored Turkey and Turkish Cypriots’ rights,” he said.
“They excluded Turkey from all the initiatives and Turkey was very patient. But recently, it had to start its own activities within its legitimate and registered continental shelf,” he added.
Cavusoglu further dismissed the likelihood of Cyprus’ reunification, saying that negotiations would be a “waste of time” and have failed to bear fruit in over 50 years.
The Turkish foreign minister, though, hailed Portugal’s assumption of the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency as an opportunity to rekindle ties with the bloc, saying that Turkey is ready to turn a “new page,” but Brussels must also move on from “problem areas.”
“We need to revive the [migration] agreement because migration is an ongoing problem, and due to the pandemic, it seems that this problem will continue for years. Therefore, we should continue our cooperation,” Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
“Modernization of the Customs Union agreement is mutually beneficial and visa liberalization is some that the European Union has promised. And during the upcoming meetings, we want to see concrete steps from the European Union in these areas,” he added.
Silva said that the EU and Turkey “share common interests and concerns” in areas such as regional security, stability and migration, while stressing the need for developing a “positive agenda.”
Silva underlined the importance of developing a “positive agenda” with Turkey.