Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
“The windows for dialogue between Greece and Turkey must now be opened further and not closed,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an emailed statement before meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his counterpart, Nikos Dendias, in Athens on Tuesday.
“Instead of new provocations, we finally need steps toward an easing of tensions and to initiate direct discussions,” Bloomberg reported Maas as saying as he heads to Greece and Turkey on Tuesday in a bid to ease tension between the two neighbors and NATO allies, which have peaked dangerously over recent weeks over energy prospecting rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
After Athens, Maas is scheduled to travel to Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Maas’ visit comes ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers later this week, in which Turkey is expected to be discussed.
“Greece’s voice will have special weight,” Maas said of the discussion.
‘No discussion’ with Turkey under ‘military pressure,’ says Greek state minister
Athens will not engage in “any discussions” with Ankara as long as Turkey continues to maintain “military pressure” in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Greek Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said on Tuesday.
Gerapetritis' statement came in the wake of Monday’s comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Turkey’s navy will not back down as Greece “sows chaos” in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
For any dialogue to take place between the two neighbors, Turkey must desist from all “aggressive” actions and agree to a framework of talks, Gerapetritis told Skai television. “The only issue Greece will discuss is the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone,” he said, reiterating the government’s position on the content of any talks between the two sides.