In Greek-Turkish, it is already extremely difficult (if not unlikely) for a dialogue to succeed. It is one of the oldest transnational conflicts in the world, with a bloody history, great diplomatic complexity and a deep entanglement with global geopolitical competition. But before we see whether the talks will lead to an agreement, it is necessary to agree exactly what will be discussed. In other words, the agenda of the negotiation is its first issue.
According to what the government has announced, the exploratory contacts that will begin soon will have the sole objective of delimiting the maritime zones. Speaking yesterday, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for the Turkish presidency, gave his own version of the dialogue.
More specifically, he asserted that:
1. Explorations begin where they left off in 2016. Their goal, again according to Kalin, is the continental shelf, the EEZ and the airspace of the Aegean Sea.
2. There will be political negotiations at the level of the Minister of Foreign Affairs where questions of economy, tourism, border security and minorities will be debated.
3. Military talks will take place both on confidence-building measures and on the creation of a joint working mechanism in the Aegean Sea, within NATO, between Greek and Turkish soldiers at sea, in the air and on the borders.
The Greek government’s response
Government sources commented on Kalin’s statements as follows:
”Mr Kalin is probably referring more broadly to “political dialogue”. The talks of foreign ministers took place in Ankara in January, the Ministry of Education in Athens in February and the ministers of inquiries. Nothing new, in fact. “
Additionally, Stelios Petsas, speaking to Sky, pointed out that:
”No Greek government is discussing the demilitarization of the islands”.
What is certain, however, is that at least for a while the military tension in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean has diminished, which, as one can see, is positive.