Turkey, Greece agree on talks over Eastern Mediterranean

Ankara to host first round of exploratory talks, Turkish FM says after meeting Greek counterpart.

A view of Turkey's research vessel, the Oruc Reis, anchored off the coast of Antalya on the Mediterranean. The vessel has since been withdrawn [Burhan Ozbilici/AP]

Turkey and Greece agreed on confidence-building measures and holding bilateral exploratory talks after weeks of tensions in a dispute over maritime rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

He was speaking after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias for the first time since the dispute between Ankara and Athens flared up.

Speaking to state media after the Global Security Forum in Slovakia, Cavusoglu said Turkey would host the first round of exploratory talks once they resume, but that the two NATO members were working on setting a date.

Tensions came to a head this summer when each side made overlapping claims to swaths of the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey dispatched a survey vessel to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects, infuriating Greece.

Turkey pulled the vessel out in mid-September.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that last week’s European Union summit decisions were not sufficient to overcome problems in relations between Ankara and the bloc.

Erdogan spoke to Merkel by video conference and told her that the EU “succumbed to blackmail” from Greece and Cyprus, which have called for sanctions against Ankara.

Source: News Agencies