NEWS

Ankara wants confidence-building talks in March

Ankara is insisting that Greek and Turkish authorities begin talks on confidence-building measures before the end of this month otherwise it will reserve large swaths of the Aegean for military maneuvers as of April 1, Kathimerini understands.

According to sources, Ankara expressed its intention on March 7, just a few days after announcing that a previous notice seeking to reserve a large expanse of air space over the Aegean for maneuvers had been inadvertently declared “with an inaccurate coordinate.”

Riled by the statements of Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, and by the latter’s highly publicized visits to islands close to the Turkish coastline, Ankara lodged an official complaint with the Greek Embassy in Ankara, Kathimerini understands. In parallel, Ankara broached the issue of bilateral talks on trust-building measures, claiming that Greece had failed to honor an agreement to launch negotiations during the month of March and pushed for those talks to begin by April 1.

According to sources, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias wants to be well prepared for those talks and aims for them to begin in April, though it remains unclear if they will start by the first day of the month.

Ankara wants to abolish all firing ranges beneath Aegean air space or to have the same number of firing ranges as Greece, according to sources who said that Athens has rejected these scenarios.