İrem UZUN -TDO- The talks between Greece and Turkey will be held in Athens on 16-17 March, the Greek foreign ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday last week. Although details provided were scarce, Greek diplomatic sources, as well as Turkish media reports, said the Greek foreign ministry’s secretary-general, Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris, will meet with Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Sedat Onal, as part of political consultations.
Since previous talks in January, tensions continue to rise over the Aegean Sea, where both countries have drilling interests. Disagreements over the delimitation of two nations’ zones has invoked threats of diplomatic action, including sanctions. The situation further deteriorated when Greek fighter jets were deployed to intercept the Turkish seismographic vessel TCG Cesme. The Cesme incident hindered diplomatic progress since neither country accepts responsibility for the incident.
NATO members Turkey and Greece also participated in deconfliction talks last year, initiated by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, which were designed to reduce the risk of incidents at the region. The talks facilitated the establishment of a hotline between Athens and Ankara. About the agenda of today’s talks, Greece says it will only address the demarcation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, while Turkey argues that they should tackle all of the issues between the two sides-- including air space and the status of certain Greek islands.