Greece – Turkey: Confidence building measures on the table

22 April, 2024

With a view for the need of further dialogue and cooperation between Greece and Turkey, the delegations of the two countries will return to the negotiating table on Monday (22/4) in the framework of the Confidence Building Measures. Following Ankara’s strong reaction over the marine parks in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, the need for de-escalation and the search for solutions has become imperative.

They are bringing a positive agenda to the table, seeking to emphasise issues of cooperation and strengthening channels of communication. This reflects a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue and an openness to resolving differences.

The last meeting on confidence-building measures, held in Ankara on 13 November, focused on common issues such as the organization of sports events and the exchange of visits by military delegations. The continuation of these efforts reflects the desire to strengthen ties and contacts between the countries.

The forthcoming meeting between the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish President, which has been “booked” for 13 May, adds even more importance to the negotiations. This approach proves that diplomacy and dialogue remain the main pillars for resolving disputes and promoting peace and stability in the region.

The leadership of the delegations by Ambassador Theocharis Lalakos and Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Aktsapar, as well as the participation of senior military officers, demonstrates the seriousness and importance that both sides attach to the meeting and the resolution of outstanding issues.

Exchange of visits: a step towards constructive diplomacy

Prior to the much-anticipated meeting on 22 April, two exchanges of visits by military commanders took place as part of the confidence-building measures agreed at the Ankara meeting.

More specifically:

  • On 16-17 April, the Greek commander of the 3rd Mechanised Infantry Brigade visited the Turkish 54th Mechanised Infantry Brigade based in Adrianople.
  • On 18-19/04, the Turkish Commander of the 4th Mechanised Infantry Brigade visited the Greek 31st Mechanised Infantry Brigade based in Feres.

These exchanges reflect the efforts of both countries to strengthen contacts and understanding between their military structures in order to create a climate of greater trust.

At the same time, the planned meeting between Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on 13 May is expected to be another important step towards resolving outstanding issues between the two countries.

The two leaders will have the opportunity to discuss outstanding issues, such as the demarcation of maritime zones, with the aim of maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Reactions in Turkey over marine parks: Provocative statements and insistence on diplomacy

While in Greece solutions are being sought through dialogue and diplomacy, in Turkey tensions and provocations prevail in response to Greece’s creation of marine environmental parks.

Turkish officials claim that this is a unilateral action aimed at turning the Aegean into a Greek sea. These reactions, accompanied by aggressive statements, create an even greater climate of insecurity and uncertainty in the region.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry responded with an aggressive statement saying that it would not accept any fait accompli that Greece might create, adding more tension to relations between the two countries.

Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party, accused Greece of sabotaging the diplomatic process and called for dialogue to be maintained. The Turkish defense ministry, for its part, returned to the rhetoric of tension and threatened to further aggravate the situation.

At the same time, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis responded to Turkey’s accusations, calling them completely unjustified. He announced that Greece would continue to exercise its sovereign rights in the Aegean and stressed the need to maintain peace and stability in the region.


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