Amid the efforts aimed at a resumption of Greece’s exploratory contacts with Turkey, Athens is engaged in a balancing act in the face of what it sees as Ankara’s erratic stance, which on the one hand unleashes threats while on the other saying it wants negotiations.
On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Nikos Dendias and Mevlut Cavusoglu respectively, had a short four-minute session at an international security forum in Bratislava, where, according to Greek diplomatic sources, they agreed to set a date for the start of exploratory contacts between the countries.
What’s more, Greece’s dismay over the opening by Turkey of the beach front of the Cypriot ghost town of Varosha was also expressed. In a Twitter post, Cavusoglu said the two ministers agreed that dates should be given for talks at the military level for confidence building measures between Athens and Ankara.
This is seen to be of particular interest given that, at the same time, the Greek and Turkish delegations are in consultation with the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Scott Kindsvater, to specify the measures to be taken to avoid accidents under the alliance’s deconfliction mechanism.
On Thursday, however, before meeting with his Greek counterpart, Cavusoglu presented Ankara’s fixed positions in Bratislava, showing maps that present Greece as a “maximalist” country, which seeks to exclude Turkey from the East Mediterranean via the island of Kastellorizo.
Later, after meeting with his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korcok, Dendias described Turkey as the common element of the ongoing crises in the region.
“Turkey has invaded Syria, invaded Iraq, sent jihadists to Libya and, now, Turkey is present in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a Qatari newspaper during his visit to the Gulf state that Turkey will not back down in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean: “We will not accept any solution that will imprison us on our shores.”