Greece, Turkey Agree to Talk about Maritime Dispute
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Turkey and Greece, both member-states in the military alliance, have agreed to discuss differences they are having over off-shore claims in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially in the Aegean Sea. “Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military deconfliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg announced in a Thursday statement. Longtime regional antagonists, Ankara and Athens are squabbling over waters believed to be rich in natural gas fields. Their navies and air forces have confronted one another in recent weeks, though without incident. Turkey imports the vast majority of its carbon-based energy needs and has been behind high-profile efforts to search for gas in waters claimed by both Greece and the pro-Greece Republic of Cyprus. A Turkey expert told The Media Line, however, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was more interested in shoring up his party’s sagging popularity by appealing to the nationalist instincts of voters.