Exploratory talks restart in Athens amid tension

Exploratory talks restart in Athens amid tension

Ahead of Tuesday’s resumption of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, Ankara on Monday formally protested last week’s memorandum of understanding between Israel, Greece and Cyprus regarding the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable connecting the three countries called the EuroAsia Interconnector.

In diplomatic notes to Greece, Israel and European Union diplomats in Ankara, Turkey said that it should be informed and its approval sought “for projects concerning areas where its continental shelf extends” and warned of measures in response.

The agreement last Monday between the three countries stipulated the expediting of permits and approvals to conduct feasibility studies for the undersea cable and to coordinate with their respective national electricity regulators on how best to proceed.

Diplomatic sources in Ankara say the submarine cable, in an area between Cyprus and Crete, “passes through the Turkish continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean.” 

With its response, Turkey is essentially revisiting its view of its continental shelf as it has been registered in the United Nations, and which does not recognize any influence of the Greek islands. 

Analysts estimate that with this move Turkey is trying to put a brake on this project, as well as the EastMed pipeline.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar slammed Greece on Monday, claiming its actions are not in the spirit of good-neighborly relations.

“Greece even now has a rhetoric that is not appropriate for a good-neighborly relationship. By threatening actions and acts it is preventing the establishment of a good-neighborly relationship,” he said, adding that Greece is “trying to turn Greek-Turkish relations into Turkey-EU relations or Turkey-US relations.”

“They think they can make a profit. They will not be able to,” he said.

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