UK welcomes positive decision to restart talks by Turkey, Greece: Minister Morton
The UK late Tuesday welcomed the decision of Turkey and Greece to restart exploratory talks, which will take place in Istanbul on Jan. 25.
"We welcome the positive decision by both countries to restart talks later this month to seek a resolution to tensions in the Aegean - this will help ensure stability & prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean," Wendy Morton, Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas, wrote on Twitter.
"Turkey & Greece remain close friends of the UK and strong NATO allies," she said.
On Jan. 11, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was inviting Greece to attend new talks hosted on Turkish soil.
On the same day, the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement declared that "the 61st round of the Exploratory Talks will take place in Istanbul on 25 January 2021."
The 60th round of talks, the last of the exploratory talks initiated between the two countries in 2002, took place in Athens in March 2016.
Afterwards, bilateral negotiations continued in the form of political consultations but did not return to an exploratory framework.
The issues of energy rights and maritime boundaries are certain to loom large in any Turkish-Greek talks.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in the region, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara last year sent several drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its rights in the region as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations.