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Sunday, 6 September 2020

Greece wants Turkey to end EastMed power play for dialogue to begin

Greece wants Turkey to end EastMed power play for dialogue to begin: Greece is demanding Turkey agree to certain “preconditions” for talks between both countries over a divide in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday, according to Reuters. The PM’s comments come as Athens is insisting that Turkey remove its navy from contested waters.

Turkey demands “no threats,” issues its own: Turkey had agreed to talks with Greece but “without threats” or provisions, and said the Greek government had refused an offer by EU High Representative Josep Borrell to attend a meeting with Turkey, according to the Reuters report. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece on Saturday to enter talks over the disputed territory or face the consequences, the Associated Press reports. “They’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences,” Erdogan said. “They are going to understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military power to tear up the immoral maps and documents imposed,” Erdogan added, referring to Greek and Cypriot offshore economic zones.

Turkey’s recent escalation follows Greece’s ratification of the maritime demarcation agreement with Egypt. The EU could discuss sanctions on Turkey at its next summit on 24 September should efforts to reach a diplomatic solution fail.

Russia entering the fray? The Russian military will begin naval drills in the region on Tuesday, with live-fire exercises between 8-22 and 17-25 September, the Turkish navy said, according to Bloomberg. “We do have strong economic and defense ties with Turkey but our policy is to avoid backing either side,” Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said. Russia’s appearance in the region follows another display by global superpower France, which has recently deployed a warship and fighter jets to support Greece and Cyprus in the dispute.

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