New round of Greek-Turkish negotiations
Last Thursday, the prime minister was careful to separate the Cyprus issue from Greek-Turkish relations. Do you believe that Ankara will take a similar stance? You have touched on a very important aspect of our foreign policy. The position of this government, even when in opposition, has always been that the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations will prove to be in the interest of both peoples, the Greeks and the Turks, and in the interest of peace and stability in the entire region. Our strategy and our goal is to improve relations between Greece and Turkey. I can give you some news related to that. This coming week Greek-Turkish exploratory contacts will be resumed, with Mr (Anastasios) Skopelitis representing Greece. You mean with the same negotiator as in the past? The same. Mr Skopelitis will go to Ankara next week and resume exploratory contacts aimed at determining the continental shelf. These talks have always been a mystery to us journalists. Have the more than 25 rounds of talks been only on the continental shelf? The talks are indeed on the continental shelf, with the difference that with developments with the Law of the Sea, technology and conditions generally, this now involves other issues. Is Ankara showing the same desire to separate relations with Greece from the Cyprus issue? I have the impression that there is the same desire on the part of Turkey, at least under the current Erdogan government. Prime Minister Karamanlis and (Turkish PM Recep Tayyip) Erdogan have met on several occasions, they have had extensive discussions on issues related to bilateral relations, and have both expressed their sincere desire to make joint efforts to improve and strengthen bilateral relations.