Greece and Turkey agree to talks on the disputed maritime boundary

Greece and Turkey have agreed to talks over disputed maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean after the European Union intervened to calm tensions between the Nato allies. 

Turkey’s presidency said the two sides were ready to begin “exploratory talks” after a videoconference between Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council chief Charles Michel.

Appearing to put the onus on Athens, Mr Erdogan said that “the steps to be taken by Greece will be important in terms of how the exploratory talks and other dialogue channels will proceed”.

“The momentum to lower tensions and explore channels of dialogue must be supported by reciprocal steps.”

The conflict over gas exploration has pitted Turkey against fellow Nato members Greece and Cyprus, with the EU backing the latter two in the dispute.

Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean will also be a key talking point at the European Council meeting later this week.

Greece and Turkey agree to talks on the disputed maritime boundary

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr Erdogan floated the idea of a regional Mediterranean conference – including the breakaway northern part of Cyprus that is backed by Turkey – to address the dispute.

“I would like to reiterate our call to establish dialogue and co-operation with coastal states in the Mediterranean,” Mr Erdogan said.

“So we are proposing the holding of a regional conference where the rights and interests of all coastal states are taken into consideration, and where Turkish Cypriots are present too.”

President Erdogan’s proposed regional conference would include the Turkish-backed part of Cyprus.

But he warned that “futile” attempts to exclude Turkey from plans in the eastern Mediterranean could not succeed.

On Tuesday, a charter was signed by an Egypt-based energy forum, that did not include Ankara, seeking to promote natural gas exports in the region.

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