Venizelos meets Turkish counterpart in Thessaloniki

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Friday met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu who proposed that the two meet with Nicos Anastasiades after the Cypriot President returns to the island, Kathimerini understands.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, Venizelos welcomed Cavusoglu’s proposal as a “very good idea.”

Anastasiades is currently in the United States after undergoing a successful heart surgery.

During his meeting with Cavusoglu, the Greek Foreign Minister also raised the issue of Turkey’s encroachment of Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Turkish survey vessel Barbaros has been carrying out seismic explorations for oil and gas inside Cyprus’s maritime zone since mid-October.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots to have a share of the gains from any hydrocarbon discoveries made inside Cyprus’s EEZ as he announced plans to set up a drilling platform off the island’s coast.

Erdogan added that the Barbaros would remain in the area until a distribution deal is reached with the Cypriot government.

“Our research vessel continues its drilling activities. We will continue to be there as long as the Greek-Cypriot administration and Greece continue to ignore our warnings on the issue,” Erdogan said.

“Turkey will never stay out of developments in Cyprus,” he added.