By Penelope Galliou

With the timer of his meeting Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, to count down until mid-May, when it is expected to take place, Greek-Turkish relations are perhaps for the first time after months of “quietness” going through a charged – but controlled – as government sources characterize it, period.

A high point in recent days has been Ankara’s positions on the marine parks in the Ionian and Aegean announced by the Greek Prime Minister in the context of “Our Ocean Conference”, despite the fact that the government chooses to keep a low tone on an indisputable right our country. However, the opposite side does not follow the same attitude, with Ankara escalating on a verbal level and constantly returning to the issue with ultimatums to Athens.

In this climate, the representative of the ruling AKP party, Omer Celik, was once again placed, who claimed that with this action Greece is “sabotaging” the process of normalizing relations between the two countries, calling on our country not to “give up the road of diplomacy”, while adding that “Turkey will under no circumstances allow any approach for the declaration of this Marine Park”. “We appreciate that the declaration of marine parks is undoubtedly a situation that on the one hand sabotages this normalization process and on the other hand takes advantage of environmental sensitivity through a unilateral acceleration,” said Celik. “We express once again to Greece that it should not abandon the path of diplomacy, that no steps should be taken that would harm the normalization and that in this context Turkey will not allow any approach for the declaration of this of the Marine Park” noted the representative of Erdogan’s party.

Warnings, which Athens categorically rejects, declaring that “Greece pursues a foreign policy without any intention of backing down on its sovereign rights”. The tone was set by the Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias twice in a twenty-four hour period, rejecting the Turkish unfounded complaints which in his interview on SKAI television he characterized as unacceptable and unserious stressing that “With these maxims, Turkey negates itself and must realize that Greece has specific rights in the Aegean arising from International Law”.

The message to Ankara made even clearer Mr. Dendias and from the floor of the 1st Maritime Security Conference on “The dimensions of maritime security, and their role in freedom of navigation”. The Minister of National Defense reminded that “in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean there is a Turkish revisionism, which does not accept UNCLOS as a rule for resolving the dispute with Greece, but in general as a rule for resolving international disputes. He believes that it can be created in the wider region a sui generis law, which serves its interests”.

The Greek position is the application of International Law and the application of International Law of the Sea, with the solutions it offers, clarified the Minister of National Defense, noting that “such a position, on the one hand, resolves most international disputes and disputes, it would also resolve if Turkey agreed to co-sign UNCLOS, for example, 95% of our difference with Turkey for once,” he added.

The new climate created under Ankara’s responsibility automatically acquires added value, as government sources comment, from the fact that in a few days, on April 22, he is coming to Athens the Turkish mission for the next round of Confidence Building Measures (CBM), while the meeting on the positive agenda that will take place in Istanbul will follow on April 26. During the discussions, so far there has been no mention of the issues of the continental shelf and EEZ, with the same sources pointing out that a climate of mutual honesty and trust should be established and there should be a mutual understanding of the principles that should govern the dialogue.

At a parallel level, the European Council is also holding discussions on Euro-Turkish relations, based on the progress report drawn up by the European Commission. Referring to this from Brussels, the Greek Prime Minister said “for the time being, he is satisfied with the conclusions we have reached and they recognize the fact that EU-Turkey relations can progress, but always within the framework of the decisions of the European Council, which have been taken recent years”. Mr. Mitsotakis also expressed – after full consultation with the Republic of Cyprus – his satisfaction and “for the fact that there is an explicit reference that links the progress of Euro-Turkish relations with the progress that can be made in the Cypriot issue on the basis of the decisions of the Security Council which determine the only framework on the basis of which the Cyprus issue can be resolved and of course expressing our expectation that this effort which is being made under the new envoy of the UN Secretary General will finally bear fruit”.