Athens: Ready for talks with Turkey, but provocations must end | News Ghana
Greece says it is prepared to start a dialogue with Turkey after weeks of growing tension about control of underwater natural gas reserves, but only once Turkey stops engaging in provocative behaviour.
A war of words has been ratcheting up because both claim the right to drill for natural gas in the same part of the Mediterranean. Ships have been rammed, Turkey has sent research vessels into contested waters and EU allies have sent ships to the region to help Greece uphold its claims.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his demands could be easily summarized. “There are only six words. The provocations stop, the talks start.”
Both Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spoken loudly and regularly about the superiority of their claims. Germany has tried to negotiate a truce, most recently in a Thursday night videoconference between Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But there have been no concrete results.
NATO has also tried to intervene, though Athens has disputed whether talks conducted on Thursday could be considered official.
Mitsotakis said he was not worried by Erdogan’s past statements, but was only interested in knowing whether Turkey was willing to talk.
“I have only one takeaway from the many overexaggerated statements by Turkish President Erdogan, mainly the one about [his willingness to have] a dialogue,” the Greek leader said in comments aired by state broadcaster ERT.