The baton of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey is delivered today in Ankara , in the shadow of the Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the light of the Greek-French defense agreement, as well as after the clear messages of the leaders of the southern European countries to its countries. Eastern Mediterranean to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the EU Member States.
The delegations of Greece and Turkey will catch the thread of exploration as they were left during the 62nd round held on March 16 in Athens , in order to explore points of convergence for possible future negotiations regarding the delimitation of the continental shelf and the Aegean and EEZ in the Aegean. Mediterranean, based on international law.
Referring to his exploratory statement after his meeting with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stressed that it is unacceptable that Turkey, with constant provocations and inflammatory statements, is trying to undermine the climate of these contacts before they even take place . The latest example is the letter of the Turkish Permanent Representative to the United Nations, regarding the militarization regime of the Aegean islands, he pointed out and added that the Turkish protest is an example of an oxymoron. “Turkey is protesting against the militarization of the islands, while Turkey itself has lined up the largest landing fleet in the Mediterranean opposite these islands. At the same time, he asks Greece to leave the islands uncovered in case of any external threat, “he said. Continuing on the same wavelength, he completely rejected all the unsubstantiated accusations made by his neighbor Turkey and all the illegal actions and said: “Greece does not threaten anyone, but it is not intimidated by illegal actions. It will protect its sovereignty, it will protect its sovereign rights as they derive from International Law and the Law of the Sea . ” Furthermore, he asked Turkey to refrain from illegal acts that destabilize the region, endanger international navigation and offer absolutely nothing to Turkey, offer absolutely nothing to Turkish society.
Crystallizing Greece's expectations for today's round of investigations, Nikos Dendias, in an interview with Sunday's Real News, said: “Despite the climate of tension that Turkey continues to cultivate, we consider it expedient to maintain open channels of communication. But we do not harbor illusions. We do not expect any of these informal contacts to occur, as, unfortunately, with Turkey, at least for the time being , there does not seem to be room for reasonable consultation. “Not because the issue under consideration, namely the delimitation of the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, is not possible, but because Turkey does not accept the fundamental rules set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea .”
Expressing the firm Greek position, the Foreign Minister stressed that we always represent, over time, all governments, a conditional consultation with Turkey under International Law and the Law of the Sea and stressed that this is our interest, that it is in its interest. , but also the will of a large part of Turkish society , which looks forward to Europe as its natural and cultural space.
The Greek side has made it clear that the contacts were and remain exploratory.
The history of exploratory
The process of confidential exploratory contacts was agreed in March 2002, as part of the Greek-Turkish rapprochement launched in 1999 and constitutes informal talks, not negotiations . It is pointed out that during the talks no minutes are kept and neither side undertakes obligations and commitments.
Their aim is to investigate whether and to what extent there is a common ground and whether the conditions are in place for the start of negotiations that could possibly lead to an agreement on the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), on the basis of international law.
In the event that it appears that it is not possible to find common ground, a firm position of Greece, which is fully in line with international law and has been set as a criterion in Turkey's EU accession process , is to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (IGC).
However, as Turkey has not recognized the general mandatory jurisdiction of the Court, a special agreement (co-binding) is required to form the legal basis for the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Apart from Athens, Greece has hosted exploratory contacts in Nafplio and Thessaloniki , while Turkey, apart from Ankara, is in Istanbul, Bodrum, Cesme (Fountain) and Izmir.
In the nearly two decades since the first meeting, 62 rounds of contact have taken place, but their regularity is not a given. There were years in which more than ten rounds of contacts took place and others in which only one took place, while in the five years from 2016 to January 2021 there was none . The 61st round took place on January 23rd in Istanbul, after almost 5 years from the previous one and about two months later, on March 16th, the 62nd round took place in Athens.
It is characteristic that the first years were intensive, by the end of 2004 27 rounds of contacts had taken place , at the end of 2010 they amounted to 48, they reached 60 on March 1, 2016, while with the two that preceded in 2021 and with the current go up to 63.