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Greece nixes Turkey treaty change bid

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The Greek government Tuesday dismissed the latest call by Turkey for a renegotiation of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which set out the modern borders between the two countries, noting that the only difference between Athens and Ankara, which can be addressed in the context of exploratory contacts, is the delimitation of the maritime zones.

On Monday, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez included the issue of changing the Lausanne Treaty, again, as one of the bilateral issues to be addressed.

Asked to comment on Donmez’s move, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Tuesday that “there is a framework, it is clear and it is that of exploratory contacts.”

“We have one difference which is the delimitation of the sea zones. We hope that Turkey will stop the provocative actions and provocative statements and catch the thread from where it was cut in March 2016,” he said, referring to the exploratory contacts between the two countries that were broken off in 2016. Petsas added that resolving this sole difference will be “for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries but also of for the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

“This is what we are prepared to do. Nothing else,” he said. 

However, referring to the exploratory contacts and the demarcation of maritime zones, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar claimed Tuesday that Greece is afraid of dialogue with Turkey.

“We say yes to all this, but the Greek side is not coming. Why? Because they hesitate, they are afraid. Why are they afraid? Because they are not right. We are right, that is why we are strong for them,” he said.

“We say ‘let’s sit down at the table as soon as possible, talk about good neighborly relations, in accordance with international law, and find political solutions to all our problems through dialogue’,” he added.