Aggressive rhetoric by Turkey, ongoing violations in the Aegean and Ankara’s stance on Cyprus ahead of a crucial multi-party summit next month have fueled concerns in Athens, with Greek political and military personnel under orders to exercise restraint.
It is unclear whether hopes for special talks on Cyprus between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the summit in Geneva on January 12 will be realized. There are concerns among Greek diplomats that Erdogan wants to avoid meeting Tsipras and aims to broach the thorny issues of security and guarantees on Cyprus, as well as matters relating to Greek-Turkish relations, in Geneva.
Tsipras noted, in comments in Berlin last week, that bilateral talks between Athens and Ankara are a prerequisite for “the successful outcome” of the Cyprus summit.
Athens is keen to secure an agreement with Ankara on the issue of guarantees on Cyprus. It also wants to ensure that Geneva does not become a forum for Ankara to set out an array of its claims relating not just to Cyprus but to the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean too.