NEWS

Turkish PM Davutoglu to visit Athens in December for talks with Samaras

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will visit Athens in December to hold talks with Greek Premier Antonis Samaras, it was announced on Monday.

“On 5 and 6 December 2014, the 3rd annual Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council will convene in Athens, between the governments of Greece and Turkey, under the chairmanship of Prime Ministers Antonis Samaras and Ahmet Davutoglu,” said the Greek Foreign Ministry.

It will be the third such council meeting between the two countries. The last was held in Turkey.

Davutoglu’s visit comes after Greece, Cyprus and Egypt signed an agreement, the Cairo Declaration, on Saturday to cooperate more closely on a range of issues, including energy.

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos informed President Karolos Papoulias about the content of the pact on Monday, saying it was part of a systematic effort by the Greek government to demarcate its maritime zone.

“The major gain from the tripartite conference is the invitation that we have issued to all the countries in the region to accept the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and to operate within its framework,” said Venizelos.

Turkey has not signed up the treaty and has been called on by Athens, Nicosia and Cairo to stop harassing Cyprus in its efforts to explore for hydrocarbons in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) it has created south of the island.

Turkey’s naval commander has revealed that he has been ordered to implement new rules of engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean if Turkish vessels encounter Greek, Cypriot, Egyptian or Israeli ships.

Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu told reporters at the sidelines of the Blue Whale naval exercise on Sunday that the country’s navy has been given new instructions in case it faces “a situation” over hydrocarbons exploration in the area.

“Our naval forces elements will continue their mission of situational awareness in the region,” said Bostanoglu, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkish navy vessels are currently escorting the Barbaros research vessel, which is in the Cypriot EEZ.