The first day of exploratory contacts between Greek and Turkish delegations on Monday in Istanbul sent out more of a political message than making concrete progress.
The most important development was the participation of the representative of the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, who was not initially expected to attend.
According to analysts, the decision for Kalin to be present for the 61st round of contacts was a clear message from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show Ankara’s desire to continue the process of exploratory contacts.
It was also seen as a message to Greece and Europe that Ankara is showing with actions its intentions to de-escalate and resolve the problems.
In a tweet after the meeting, Kalin wrote that “it is possible to solve all problems, including the Aegean, and we have a will for this.”
“Regional peace and stability is in everyone’s interest,” he wrote.
The resumption of talks has been greeted positively by the European Union while the US on Monday welcomed “the commitment of both governments to this process.”
“We support all efforts to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the new State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, said on Twitter.
The next round of exploratory contacts is expected to take place in Athens at the end of February or, most likely, in March, but certainly before the EU summit, to send a message to Brussels that the two countries are continuing the process of de-escalation and rapprochement.