Greek-Turkish Relations
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Gerapetritis spoke with the Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, whom Dendias had rejected - An attempt to restart relations as if Tripoli had written off the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum

Signs that Athens and Ankara are very close to starting a more substantive dialogue are appearing more and more frequently, especially through statements by the foreign ministers of the two countries.

In this context, after Fidan's statements that there is a window of opportunity, came Gerapetritis' statements on Wednesday morning where he set out the schedule of contacts between Turkey and Greece, saying. The first milestone is the United Nations General Assembly in New York in mid-September, where there will be a meeting of the delegations with the leaderships, that is, with the heads of government, with the leaders. And a second milestone, which is towards the end of the year when we will have the High Council of Greece and Turkey, with an enlarged composition, that is, not only with the leadership, but also with a significant number of Ministers. You understand that there will be preparatory work by the Foreign Ministries to prepare for these important discussions and meetings. The two Foreign Ministers have taken overall responsibility for organising this re-engagement, and so we have both responsibility and accountability for how this issue is going. It is possible that we will have a meeting with my Turkish counterpart also before the UN General Assembly, precisely to set the timetable, the basis of the discussion and our next steps."

If anything, what is troubling is the fact that the Foreign Ministry seems to overemphasize the issue of zero overflight violations and air battles in the Aegean as if this was the big issue in Turkey's aggression.

George Gerapetritis said, "What is true is that Greece and Turkey have a fundamental dispute, which is the only dispute that can be brought before an international jurisdiction. And that is the delimitation of the maritime zones, namely the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf. For this to happen, given the fact that Turkey is not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, there will have to be a compromise which will define the scope of the dispute. Our inclination, Mrs Vidu, is to catch this important underlying dispute as well. I would like to point out the following: It is very, very important that we can continue, that we can walk on this path of the last few months, which is a path of reconciliation and calm in the Aegean and in the eastern Mediterranean.

We no longer have either the verbal confrontations we had in the recent past or the airspace violations we experienced for decades. At the moment, we have a considerable peace and quiet. This allows us, Mrs Vidu, to discuss not only the current management - and this is important, if we can ensure a longer-term quiet in our region, that in itself is a major achievement. But we are also being given this important opportunity to discuss the major issues, and in particular the issues related to this delimitation."


Along the same axis, there seems to be a significant change in the general perspective of the region as Athens is moving to "improve" its relations with the pro-Turkish regime of Tripoli in Libya as well, according to diplomatic sources: "Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis had, today, a telephone conversation with his Libyan counterpart Najla Mangoush". The Libyan minister whom Nikos Dendias, while he was Foreign Minister, did not even have the opportunity to greet...

According to the same diplomatic sources: "George Gerapetritis stressed the need to restart relations between Athens and Tripoli and open direct channels of communication, as well as Greece's decision to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Libya by accrediting a Greek Ambassador in Tripoli. Both Ministers referred to the historical ties between the two peoples and agreed to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

One should remind those who are positive about a rapprochement that Turkey's revisionist doctrine did not change because the violations in the Aegean air have stopped, nor was the Casus Beli lifted, and of course Tripoli did not renounce the illegal Turkish-Turkish memorandum....

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