Türkiye remains open to bilateral and regional energy cooperation with Greece, said the outgoing Turkish envoy, local media reported.
Stressing that the ongoing global energy crisis can encourage the devising of practical solutions to problems that previously seemed inextricable, Burak Ozugergin said “cooperation is not a scary word, despite what some people in Greece claim” in an interview he gave to the Greek daily Ta Nea.
On whether it is possible for Greece and Türkiye to return to the dialogue table, he added: “Not only is it possible, but it is necessary, and I dare say even inevitable.”
Ankara and Athens should first sit down and solve what they can solve and then they can apply a sort dispute settlement mechanism or authority such as an international court, Ozugergin said, noting that such a solution would involve law, good neighborliness and common sense.
He emphasized that Ankara’s position has been very clear about the extension of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.
“In semi-enclosed seas, the width of the territorial waters cannot be determined unilaterally. That makes total sense, since the exercise of a right cannot infringe on the rights of others. That is what the law says too. Türkiye and Greece, as two littoral states, have legitimate rights and interests in the Aegean Sea. So any acquisition of new maritime areas should be based on mutual consent and should be fair and equitable. Extending the limits of Greek territorial waters to 12 nautical miles will clearly hinder Türkiye’s vital rights and interests,” he said.
Türkiye, a NATO member for more than 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty obligations. Ankara said the moves frustrate its good-faith efforts for peace.
By Derya Gulnaz Ozcan in Athens