Greece seeking restart with Turkey

Greece seeking restart with Turkey

Following the widely anticipated victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his country’s presidential election, Athens is continuing its strategy of gradually and steadily reopening the numerous avenues of communication between Greece and Turkey.

On the formal front, Greece’s caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas congratulated Erdogan in a letter, wishing the Turkish people peace and prosperity.

Meanwhile, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Mega TV on Monday that if he wins re-election on June 25, he will try to see Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11 and 12. 

In terms of timing, after June 25, the process of discussions on confidence building measures (CBMs) is expected to resume at the level of the ministries of National Defense, with exploratory contacts and political dialogue at the level of the ministries of Foreign Affairs to follow. The so-called “positive agenda,” particularly energy, is also expected to be discussed.

Kathimerini has previously reported on the American assessment that, given the current state of Greek-Turkish relations, it is possible to lay the groundwork for some cooperation in the energy sector, particularly in the most straightforward aspect, namely the transport of liquefied natural gas to terminals in both Greece and Turkey. The particular nature of the US initiative is unknown, but it appears to have been postponed until the end of the summer, if not early October. 

Persons who will be involved in one way or another are expected to be the assistant secretary for energy resources, and former US ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, and Amos Hochstein, special presidential coordinator for global infrastructure and energy security under US President Joe Biden.

The Germans have also expressed their readiness to facilitate Greek-Turkish contacts, but Athens prefers to start cultivating a better climate – as far as this is possible – at the level of leaders. 

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