Cairo, capitals (Union, agencies)
Yesterday, the first technical talks between Greece and Turkey at NATO headquarters failed to reach any agreement on a mechanism to reduce the chances of engagement in the eastern Mediterranean. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stipulated the halt to Turkish provocations to start talks on the maritime border. Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades condemned Turkey’s aggression, while calling for talks to resolve the maritime border dispute and gas exploration rights through international arbitration, warning that the escalating tension is very explosive, threatening to destabilize the entire region. Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel announced his efforts to hold a multilateral conference to help ease tension in the region.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that Greece and Turkey will actually conduct the first technical talks aimed at avoiding escalating military tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, and said in a press conference after the meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday in Brussels: “These are technical talks, not negotiations on the basic differences related to border demarcation. And economic zones, but no results have yet been reached regarding a possible mechanism to reduce the chances of incidents and accidents occurring in the eastern Mediterranean. He added, “Our work complements the German effort to establish a framework for dialogue to solve the basic problems between the two parties, and we are not involved in this matter, but we support it.” While Athens denied holding any talks at NATO headquarters, and the Foreign Ministry said, “The published information about Greece and Turkey agreeing to hold what they called technical talks to reduce tension in the eastern Mediterranean do not coincide with the truth.”
The Greek Prime Minister said that Greece would start talks with Turkey to settle the issue of the maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean as soon as it stopped its provocations, and added in a meeting with the chief Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, who is visiting Athens: “Our country has the ability and the desire to discuss the demarcation of maritime areas in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. According to the principles of international law and not under threat … Our demands can easily be summed up in just five words: “Provocative actions stop, talks begin.”
Mitsotakis said in a tweet on his Twitter account that Turkey is carrying out illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean, which represents a challenge, and requires an international response. He pointed out that his country is facing Turkish aggression and actions that challenge the United Nations Charter, undermine international law, and endanger regional security by seeking to alter the geographical reality. He explained that Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will convey a message in this regard to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The Foreign Ministry stressed that de-escalation will not happen unless all Turkish ships withdraw from the Greek continental shelf.
In turn, the Cypriot president condemned Turkey’s aggression and called for talks to resolve the maritime boundaries and gas exploration rights dispute, warning that the escalating tension in the Mediterranean threatens to destabilize the entire region. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, he said: “There is aggression, with an intention to actually control the entire region. Therefore, we are witnessing increased tension and the resulting situation is very explosive and raises concern. ” He added that the island, the north of which is under Turkish occupation, is facing a very dangerous situation.
Anastasiades condemned Ankara’s provocations and its violations of international law that violated the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, and warned against endangering the stability and security of the entire region. “Turkey’s continued illegal exploration operations have led to the intensified militarization of our neighborhood,” he said. In response to Turkey’s claim to sovereignty over about 40 percent of the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, he suggested, “Opening an escrow account in which a percentage of any future profits coming from the untapped and rich gas fields will be deposited for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots, but in return for Ankara also recognizing the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. He said, “We did everything we could to ensure and protect the rights of our citizens, so Turkey has no excuse.”
He stressed that if the United Nations and the international community took the necessary steps, further escalation could be avoided. He stressed that his country does not want to impose sanctions on Turkey, saying, “Sanctions are not our goal.” Our goal is to see that through dialogue, we can reach a settlement that is fully compatible with what is stipulated in international law. ” He urged Turkey to agree to either submit the case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, or before international arbitration. “They should realize that they must abide by international law, and not interpret international law according to their expansionist approach,” he said. He praised France’s firm stance during the current crisis, saying, “Paris has been a pioneering voice for what Europe must do to protect member states from this aggression.”
Experts to “Al-Ittihad”: No one wants escalation, but the possibilities of war “exist”
Shaaban Bilal and Ahmed Atef (Cairo)
Professor of political science at George Washington University, Dr. Nabil Mikhail, said that Athens is trying to internationalize the issue of the eastern Mediterranean and show its position on the Turkish escalation, explaining in statements to “the Union” that the issue will be discussed at the European Union summit on September 24th. He explained that the administration of US President Donald Trump does not want to escalate to the approaching date of the American elections, in addition to that Germany also does not want escalation, which is the President of the European Union in its current session.
A professor of political science at El Pandio University in Athens, Dr. Aref Al-Obeid, said that the Greek foreign minister will work in New York to mobilize international support against Turkey and reach a solution that guarantees Greek interests, since the European position is divided on itself and there are no serious sanctions against Turkey that support the Greek position until right Now. He explained to the “Union” that there are, up to this moment, no signs of a solution because the two parties are strict in their demands. Therefore, concessions must be made from Turkey and Greece, and each party adopts the principles of international law, indicating that the only solution is the start of immediate dialogue between the two countries and the launch of negotiations in the presence of a UN and a European. To advance the peace process between the two countries and to avoid the interference of foreign parties in the conflict.
A political expert and professor of economics and crisis management at the British Cardiff Metropolitan University in Athens, Dr. Abdullatif Darwish, considered that Greece is seeking international support against Turkey that would give it legal cover. He added to “the Union” that there is no official Greek position confirming the existence of talks. As for the technical issue, it may be that there is no clash that is not calculated and does not take a negotiating form, pointing out that the widening gap in the demands encourages the two countries to continue the threats. He pointed out that if there were no reciprocal military withdrawals and an effective siege of the crisis, the possibilities of war existed.