Greece welcomes Turkish concept ship’s return to Med Sea port

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greece’s top minister welcomed the return of a Turkish concept ship to port Sunday from a disputed design of the eastern Mediterranean that has been at the coronary heart of a summer stand-off between Greece and Turkey over energy rights. Greek High Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged he became once prepared to strive and restart prolonged-stalled talks on the unstable dispute over possible oil and gasoline reserves, signaling that the 2 international locations would perchance be inching toward negotiations after weeks of further and further bellicose rhetoric and fears of an armed warfare within the pronounce. Turkey’s Oruc Reis be taught ship returned to map the southern port of Antalya for the principle time in bigger than a month after Turkey announced in July that it became once dispatching a vessel to work in waters the put Greece claims jurisdiction.

“This is a obvious first step,” Mitsotakis told newshounds within the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. “If we see indicators of deescalation in notice … I would perchance be the principle to sit down at the negotiating table.”

The deployment of the be taught vessel brought on a militia assemble-up within the eastern Mediterranean. Nominal NATO allies Turkey and Greece every dispatched warships to the design the put the Oruc Reis became once engaged in seismic be taught and conducted militia exercises to direct their claims.

“In areas the put there could be no longer any maritime delimitation, there can also be no unilateral actions, and that has what Turkey has been doing in present weeks,” Mitsotakis acknowledged.

NATO intervened, organizing talks between the 2 international locations’ militaries to forestall a doable warfare. Turkey had moreover attain below growing international force to withdraw the concept ship, with the risk of European Union sanctions looming.

Turkey challenged Greece’s claim to that half of the ocean and had acknowledged it became once preserving its have confidence legitimate rights. The Turkish concept ship returned to Antalya after its Navtex, or international maritime security advisory, for the waters between Turkey, Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete became once no longer renewed.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar acknowledged Sunday that Turkey supports peace and dialogue “if our wishes and demands are fulfilled.” He spoke on a wander to to Antalya’s district of Kas.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou became once visiting the Greek island of Kastellorizo, positioned straight at some level of the Mediterranean from Kas, at the the same time.

In response to the standoff with Turkey, Greece on Saturday announced a well-known unusual protection program that consists of plans to cast off 18 French-made Rafale fighter planes to change its ageing Mirage 2000 opponents. Mitsotakis acknowledged provide of the Rafale opponents would initiate in mid-2021.

Greece moreover plans to cast off four navy helicopters and four unusual frigates, and to add 15,000 legitimate militia personnel to its military by 2025, in accordance with the unusual protection concept.

Exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey over the continental shelf and uncommon economic zone rights were final held in 2016. Each and every Greece and Turkey enjoy suffered heavy monetary consequences from the pandemic, with tourism, building and manufacturing onerous hit. ___ Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul and Gatopoulos reported from Athens.

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