Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
The foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel hailed the tripartite partnership between the three countries, aimed at bolstering economic and energy cooperation, during a meeting in Athens on Tuesday, and agreed that it could be expanded to include other countries in the region.
Greece, Israel and Cyprus, which all are at odds with Turkey over energy boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, hold regular meetings to promote cooperation in defense and energy.
Cooperation projects include a planned electricity grid interconnection between Israel, Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete by undersea cable by the end of 2023.
“Our meeting unfortunately takes place under the weight of new illegal actions on the part of Turkey,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in comments to the press, following his meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides and Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi.
He went on to accuse Ankara of “trying to destroy any prospect of constructive dialogue by illegally reserving areas within the Greek continental shelf for illegal seismic surveys or by provoking with the illegal visit of the Turkish vice president to occupied Varosha.”
Dendias stressed the support for the partnership that has been expressed by the European Union and the United States, adding that its strength lies in its foundation on the tenets of international law.
“We are creating a new geography of understanding that transcends the old stereotypes, that reshapes the map of our region,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in comments to the press, following his meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides and Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi.
In joint statements after the trilateral, Greece's government said it wants to expand trade, energy, and military partnerships with Israel and other countries in the region to counter what it considers the hostile policy of neighbor Turkey.
"Our region is not going back to the 19th century," Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said after meeting in Athens with his counterparts from Israel and Cyprus, Gabi Ashkenazi and Nikos Christodoulides.
Tension in the region has spiked since the summer after Turkey expanded its oil and gas maritime research missions to waters in which Greece says it has jurisdiction.
Ankara argues that it has been largely excluded from regional energy exploration, insisting that Greek islands near its coastline should not project maritime zones for commercial exploitation.