No plans for Turkey defense minister visit

No plans for Turkey defense minister visit

Greece said on Friday that there are no plans in the imminent future for a meeting in Athens between the Greek and Turkish defense ministers, Nikos Dendias and Yasar Guler, respectively, adding that there has not been a relevant invitation.

“Regarding the reports in Turkish media about the visit of Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler to Athens, it is noted that there has been no invitation,” Greek Defense Ministry sources said informally on Friday afternoon.

Although the two men have spoken on the phone, their meeting and, by extension, all the procedures for a rapprochement regarding the defense ministries will be postponed to a later date. These processes are likely to include the confidence building measures (CBMs) at the level of the ministries of defense.

The ministry’s distancing is due both to the need to control the flow of information arriving from Turkey and to the assessment that the steps for a restart should be slower and steadier. The initial scenarios of a meeting between Dendias and Guler in Athens were leaked via CNN Turk.

The other scheduled contacts will, however, take place as planned, with Foreign Ministers George Gerapetritis and Hakan Fidan meeting in Ankara on Tuesday to prepare for the next meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York (September 18-20). Meetings will be held at the level of the positive agenda (Kostas Fragogiannis) and political dialogue between Foreign Ministry officials in October and November. 

But in addition to the Greek-Turkish issues, which de facto take up a substantial amount of Greek diplomatic resources, other crucial talks are anticipated to happen in the coming days. The trilateral summit between Greece, Israel and Cyprus will take place on Monday in Nicosia after its postponement in July owing to Benjamin Netanyahu’s medical issue. Security and energy will be the main topics of discussion between Netanyahu, Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides and Mitsotakis.

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