Associated Press reports that Monday, Turkish and Greek officials announced that they will resume talks aimed at reducing tensions between the two neighboring countries on January 25.
The announcement came after Greece announced plans to extend territorial waters along its western coastline from six to 12 nautical miles, a move that could impact a tense dispute with neighbor Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu invited Greece to restart talks aimed at resolving their disagreements and also called for a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.
Cavusoglu’s invitation follows a decision by Ankara, which faces sanctions from the European Union, to turn a new page in its troubled relations with EU nations. In December, the EU gave the green light for the expansion of sanctions against Turkey over its exploration of gas reserves in waters claimed by EU members Greece and Cyprus. The talks would be the 61st round of a long-running process of negotiations between Greece and Turkey that aim to improve their often testy relations.
The NATO members have been at odds over sea and coastline boundaries, continental shelves, air space, the status of Cyprus, and energy and mineral rights in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean for decades. The two countries have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s. Talks between the two to resolve the dispute broke down four years ago. Under pressure from western allies, the two sides say they are willing to restart dialogue.
Their dispute threatened to erupt into open conflict last August when Turkey sent a research vessel escorted by warships to “survey waters” for oil and gas west of Cyprus, which Greece says is over its own continental shelf and where it claims exclusive economic rights.