NEWS

Greek-Turkey contacts get NATO’s backing

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Within the context of the new atmosphere created with Ankara’s recent de-escalation with Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stressed Tuesday on the second day of a two-day visit to Brussels the need for Turkey to respect international law, and especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), so there is a common framework in the exploratory contacts that resumed on Monday.

For his part, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who met Tuesday with Dendias, welcomed the ongoing talks in the framework of the deconfliction mechanism between military representatives of the two sides.

“I am pleased to see that tensions have eased significantly since I visited Athens and Ankara last October, and I hope we can further develop this deconfliction mechanism,” Stoltenberg said. The NATO secretary-general described the exploratory talks between the two sides as “a step in the right direction to resolve the underlying issues.”

Dendias also met Tuesday with his Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmès, who expressed her country’s support for Greece regarding the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also highlighted the “constructive mood” that Ankara has shown in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Hurriyet newspaper Tuesday, German Ambassador to Ankara Jürgen Schulz stressed the need for a positive agenda between the European Union and Turkey, part of which is the resumption of exploratory contacts with Greece.

He also stressed the need for Ankara to invest in de-escalation with Greece.

Schulz described Turkey as “an important partner” and added that, as an EU member-state, Germany shares the concerns of its partners Greece and Cyprus, referring to the period of tension in August-November.

Schulz welcomed the resumption of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, noting that “before constructive talks can take place, the trust that has been lost must be rebuilt.”