Turkey’s intention to abstain from exploration in areas of the Greek continental shelf until the framework of an across-the-board dialogue with Greece is set has been greeted with caution by Athens, which has emphasized that the only issues up for discussion are the continental shelf and sea zones.
What’s more, Greece has insisted that it is unthinkable to start discussions under Turkish threats.
“Greece is always open to dialogue under certain conditions. The conditions are that there are no provocations because you cannot be led to a discussion with a gun to your head,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said to Wednesday, emphasizing that Greece will not be blackmailed.
He noted that “there is currently no agreed process for starting a dialogue,” while adding that there are some discussions, but nothing more.
In the same vein, Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis pointed out that Greece does not accept ultimatums. Greece, he said, is in favor of dialogue about known issues – maritime zones and the continental shelf – adding that “a dialogue can be constructive only if the incoming parties have refrained from any aggressive actions.”
Athens, he said, is in favor of dialogue on the basis of the rules of international law with Turkey on the unresolved issues between the two countries, but only with regard to the question of maritime zones.
However, Gerapetritis said, this does not necessarily mean that dialogue between Athens and Ankara is not possible. “Communication is always preferable to being faced with a fait accomplis that may create unnecessary tension, or a mistake that causes an incident that we are then unable to control,” he said.