Notwithstanding lingering tension in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey plan to launch a new round of talks on confidence building measures, or CBMs.
The fresh contacts between military officials, which come in the wake of recent talks in Ankara between the general secretaries of the two countries’ foreign ministries, will commence on February 17 or, alternatively, on February 21 in Athens or in Thessaloniki.
The conservative government in Athens appears determined to maintain open channels of communication with Ankara despite the problems caused by Turkey’s recurring provocations.
Further contacts between the two sides, this time on a ministerial level, are likely to take place during the upcoming NATO summit.
Meanwhile, Athens is pressing on with diplomatic efforts to undo the negative repercussions of the maritime borders delineation deal signed between Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based government.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is visiting Rome on Tuesday for talks with his counterpart Luigi Di Maio that are expected to focus on Libya, East Med developments and energy. Dendias is expected in Malta on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, during a visit to the northern city of Kavala, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos affirmed Athens’ “restrained” and “swift” response to the activity of the Oruc Reis research vessel, which last week crossed into the area of Greece’s continental shelf, adding that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was closely briefed on the movements of the research vessel.
He reportedly referred to the entire incident as a “battle of nerves.”