Greek FM heads to UN amid stressful standoff with Turkey

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — No matter a denial from Greece, the chief of NATO said Friday that Greece and Turkey possess started technical discussions geared toward decreasing the menace of armed struggle or accidents amid militia tensions between the allies over offshore energy assets within the jap Mediterranean.

No agreement has been reached from the militia-level talks, NATO Secretary Neatly-liked Jens Stoltenberg said.

Greece’s some distance flung places minister, meanwhile, headed to Unusual York to talk in regards to the regional dispute centered around maritime boundaries and drilling rights.

Neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey possess been locked for weeks in a stressful standoff within the jap Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an allege Greece claims as its possess continental shelf.

Ankara says it has every real to prospect there and accuses Greece of attempting to diagram close an unfair portion of maritime assets.

Stoltenberg launched Thursday that the two sides had agreed to birth “technical talks” to minimize the hazards of militia “incidents and accidents.”

But Athens rapidly denied such a agreement, announcing Turkey must first withdraw its ships from the allege where it’s undertaking gas and oil prospecting. Ankara said it backed Stoltenberg’s initiative for militia and technical talks and called on Greece to attain the same.

On Friday, the NATO chief said Greek, Turkish and allied militia officers had begun talks geared toward guaranteeing that among the standoffs between the two countries’ military within the Mediterranean don’t shatter out into open struggle. NATO officials said the first talks had been held Thursday.

“As prolonged as now we possess so many ships within the jap Mediterranean, we think that there could be a necessity to possess technical talks on how to construct enhanced mechanisms for deconfliction,” Stoltenberg urged reporters. “No agreement has been reached yet, but the talks possess started.”

While it’s moderately uncommon for NATO to need to step in to minimize tensions between member international locations, the militia alliance has helped allege up the same systems within the past, including communications hotlines for exercise in case of emergencies.

Stoltenberg underlined that the militia-level talks are only geared toward avoiding any incident between Greece and Turkey and are very clear from the diplomatic efforts to earn a prolonged-term resolution to the standoff.

“These are technical talks moderately than negotiations on the underlying dispute between Greece and Turkey and as such they’re supposed to enhance, no longer replace, the efforts led by Germany for political mediation in opposition to deescalation,” he said.

Since Turkey dispatched a vessel accompanied by warships to attain exploratory research, Greece’s military possess been placed on alert. Both countries sent warships to the allege and implemented reside-fire workout routines between the islands of Crete and Cyprus and Turkey’s southern waft.

Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots possess multiplied over the Aegean Sea and the jap Mediterranean. A Turkish and a Greek frigate collided closing month, reportedly causing minor injury to the Turkish frigate but no accidents.

The crisis is mainly the most excessive within the two countries’ kinfolk in decades. The neighbors possess map to the brink of struggle three instances for the reason that mid-1970s, including as soon as over maritime assets within the Aegean Sea.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ assembly with U.N. Secretary-Neatly-liked Antonio Guterres will focal point on “complications with world and regional passion, with an emphasis on novel traits within the jap Mediterranean and the Cyprus venture, as well to the honest of the U.N..” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

Greek High Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Dendias will be handing over a letter from him to Guterres detailing what he said became as soon as Turkey’s unlawful job within the space.

Talking with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Athens, Mitsotakis said Greece faces aggression from Turkey and “actions that dispute every rule of the U.N. structure, with a rhetoric that distorts historical past and changes geography, undermining legality and with actions which can maybe maybe well also be endangering security within the total Mediterranean.”

Mitsotakis said Greece helps factual neighborly kinfolk, and great Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is open to dialogue.

“And to this I reply with six obvious phrases: The provocations close, the dialogue begins,” Mitsotakis said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meanwhile accused Greece of “lying” in regards to the NATO initiative, announcing Stoltenberg had consulted with Ankara and Athens — and every agreed to the technical talks — before making his announcement.

“Greece has refuted the NATO secretary general,” Cavusoglu urged reporters. “But it completely isn’t the NATO secretary general who is lying, it’s Greece itself who is lying. … Greece has all as soon as more shown that it does no longer settle on a dialogue.”

A Greek Foreign Ministry legitimate retorted that Cavusoglu “anxious to shift basically the most well-known focal point of the debate from Turkey’s unlawful behavior, has baptized as ‘talks’ a NATO proposal on a technical level for an excellent deal of the tension Turkey itself is causing within the jap Mediterranean space.”

The legitimate spoke on condition of anonymity as he became as soon as no longer approved to talk on the file on the venture.

In the interim, the spokesman for Turkey’s ruling occasion, Omer Celik, said the European Union could maybe maybe now no longer count on Turkey’s cooperation in stemming the waft of migrants and refugees to Europe if it goes forward with plans to sanction Turkey over its exploration operations within the jap Mediterranean.

“I don’t query of issues to map to the purpose of sanctions. The EU need to soundless no longer query of cooperation on refugees after that time,” Celik said in an interview with Turkey’s NTV files channel. “They need to soundless no longer heart of attention on that they’ll sanction (Turkey) within the jap Mediterranean and proceed to cooperate in diverse areas.”

Earlier this 365 days, tens of hundreds of migrants gathered at Turkey’s border with Greece, anxious to be allowed to immoral, after the Turkish president declared the borders with Europe open to migrants attempting to scramble into EU international locations.


Associated Press Creator Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Lorne Cook dinner in Brussels contributed.

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