Athens & Ankara agree to talks, Stoltenberg says, amid maritime tensions between NATO allies
… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: NATO sponsored talks seemed to be the only feasible venue for getting Greece and Turkey together under the wings of an organization that is important to both, especially when it comes to NATO members threatening military action between themselves, a beyond stupid situation which would degrade NATO’s reputation.
Turkey appeared to be claiming rights to all of the disputed area as a way of creating a lot of international attention, and to establish Erdogan’s negotiation position based on the continental shelf established rule on natural resource ownership and extraction.
Erdogan previewed his position this week in that “islands don’t have a continental shelf” and hence no rights to resources. But that position seems to have been created for any illiterate Turks. Island nations would of course have rights for exploration in the water around them, shelf or no shelf.
Part two of Erdogan’s ploy is that if none of these islands could drill for their own oil and gas, then buying it from Turkey would be the best cost due to its proximity. So this would have Erdo stealing their stuff and then selling it back to them. You just can’t make this stuff up.
The good news is the ‘live fire’ drills, another Erdogan showmanship ploy, will probably not go on, thus saving its military from wasting ammunition that it might need later. Expect Erdogan to continue using this controversy to deflect from economic problems at home, as that’s how it works on the current world stage… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … September 03, 2020 –
The two states are NATO allies, but have been locked in a naval standoff for a month, after Ankara sent a research vessel into disputed waters near Cyprus. The vessel was launched after Greece signed a drilling agreement with Egypt, a move Ankara claims is designed to force it out of the energy-rich waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, even though Turkey signed a similar agreement with Libya last year.
With the Turkish Navy currently holding live-fire drills near northern Cyprus, and France and Italy joining Greece for its own military exercises near Crete, tensions have steadily ratcheted upwards in recent weeks.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Thursday that both sides have at least agreed to prevent “incidents” in the contested waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military deconfliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out making any concessions to Greece, saying his country will take “whatever it is entitled to in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas.” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, meanwhile, has vowed to expand his country’s territorial claims in the Ionian Sea by 12 nautical miles from its coastline, a move that Turkey previously said would be grounds for war.
Despite the bellicose rhetoric, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier this week that Turkey is “ready for dialogue” with Greece.