Greece and Turkey have agreed to resume exploratory contacts in Istanbul, the Greek Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday afternoon, however without specifying the date.
The two countries “have agreed to hold the 61st round of exploratory contacts in Istanbul, in the near future,” the ministry said in a surprisingly brief statement.
Exploratory contacts between the two countries started in 2020 and were suspended in March 2016 by Turkey.
The Turkish presidency said on Tuesday that Turkey and Greece stated that they are ready to resume the talks to address their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean, following a call between the leaders of Turkey, Germany and the European Union.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a teleconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel at 2 p.m.
Apparently to show its “good wil”; towards the talks, Turkey issued a NAVTEX demadning the demilitarization of the island of Limnos.
- In a devil’s coincidence, the EU Summit with Turkey on its agenda and scheduled for Sept 24-25 has been postponed for Oct 1-2, after a security guard in Brussels has been tested positive to Covid-19, and the President of European Council, Charles Michel, is going to quarantine himself.
Worth noting that exploratory contacts are by no way “negotiations.”
During exploratory contacts, the two sides meet and each side submits its own position on a subject. When they have drunk their coffee, they close the door and go … until the next round where they either continue on the same subject or go over to the next one.
The meeting are held in rotating mode in Athens and Istanbul.
Much to KTG knowledge from previous rounds of these famous “exploratory contacts”, each time Turkey would come up with a series of issues (Greek islands, demilitarization, minorities, etc the list is very long), while for Greece the only topic is the continental shelf.
PS No wonder, there was no progress during 60 rounds of Greek Coffee & Turkish Delight either in Athens or in Istanbul.