Athens bracing for August developments

Athens bracing for August developments

With the Turkish fleet still deployed in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Monday, Athens remained in full operational readiness while at the same time bracing for the expected launch of a new diplomatic rapprochement with Ankara on August 24.

However, given that it remains unknown how discussions are supposed to take place while Ankara insists on conducting exploratory activities in the Greek continental shelf, the government is reportedly monitoring developments with extreme caution. The issue of Turkey’s violation of Greek sovereignty is expected to be raised by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during Wednesday’s special teleconference of European Union leaders on the situation in Belarus, even though it is not on the agenda.

If there is no change in Turkey’s behavior in the coming days, then Greece, along with Cyprus, will raise the issue of sanctions against Ankara at the informal summit of EU foreign ministers on August 27 and 28.

August 27 is also the date when the 90-day deadline expires for a response from Turkey to the requests submitted by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) to conduct exploratory activities in areas designated in the Turkey-Libya maritime border accord, namely off the coast of the islands of Crete, Kasos and Karpathos. What’s more, Turkish media reported Monday that TPAO was preparing to send a third drillship to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will hold talks today in Nicosia with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, as well as Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. Both Athens and Nicosia welcomed the latest statement on Sunday by EU High Representative Josep Borrell regarding the new drilling activities of Turkey’s Yavuz drillship in the Cypriot continental shelf.

It also emerged on Monday that the maritime deals Greece has signed with Italy and Egypt will be brought to Parliament for discussions. Cairo is also reportedly expediting procedures to table the deal in the Egyptian Parliament.

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