Turkey wants EU, US out of talks with Greece

At a meeting on the sidelines of NATO summit, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to have a ‘calm’ summer and de-escalate tensions. [EPA-EFE/DMITRIS PAPAMITSOS]

Ankara and Athens have interpreted differently the outcome of the recent meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding the role of the EU and the US in the Greek-Turkish row.

At that meeting, the two leaders decided to de-escalate tensions and have a “quiet” summer as well as establish a direct channel of communication.

Speaking to reporters on his return from Azerbaijan, Erdoğan said the most important issue on which they agreed with Mitsotakis was to communicate directly through their envoys Ibrahim Kalin and Eleni Sourani and without the mediation of third parties, organisations and states.

Athens believes that Erdoğan seems to seek to cancel the Greek line that Greek-Turkish relations are part of the EU-Turkey relations.

Greek diplomatic sources told Skai TV that bilateral communication is something that runs in parallel with the EU-Turkey relations.

“The architecture of Greek foreign policy has been built within an EU-Turkey context. There is the issue of a positive agenda and the issue of conditionality,” a diplomatic source told Skai.

The same source added that Athens insists and will continue to insist that the issue of Greek-Turkish relations is Euro-Turkish.

At a summit next week, EU leaders will follow a carrot and stick approach. Practically, if Turkey engages in dialogue and de-escalates the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean then gifts such as the modernisation of the EU-Turkey customs union will be granted.

Otherwise, the options of the March EU summit will be activated aiming to hit specific sectors of the Turkish economy.

Yet, the conclusions of the EU-US summit provided that any solution in the Eastern Mediterranean will have to be based on the International Sea Law, which has not been ratified by Turkey. (Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)

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