BRATISLAVA, Slovakia / ANKARA
The Turkish and Greek foreign ministers on Thursday discussed the dispute over the Eastern Mediterranean and issues concerning Cyprus.
Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu and Greece's Nikos Dendias met for about a half-hour on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum in Slovakia's capital.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Cavusoglu said that they agreed to hold exploratory talks on the Eastern Mediterranean dispute.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey will host the meetings and Greece will recommend dates.
“I told him that it is beneficial to continue the dialogue even under the most difficult conditions. We have agreed to continue [talks] today,” he added.
Cavusoglu said that the two diplomats also discussed the abandoned town of Maras in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa, which partially reopened for public use on Thursday.
“Met w/FM @NikosDendias of #Greece on the sidelines of #GLOBSEC2020 in #Bratislava. Will determine dates of Exploratory Talks and meetings for Confidence Building Measures in the coming days,” Cavusoglu posted on Twitter along with a photo of the two diplomats.
He said that for years many people and institutions, including Greek Cypriots, were unable to use the properties due to how Maras was closed, and that steps on the use of the properties would be taken later.
Stressing the importance of opening some roads and beaches where there is no private property, the Turkish diplomat said that he saw the Turkish Cypriots were especially happy to use the beach today.
“It will be beneficial for us to take such steps in the coming period without violating UN resolutions and respecting the interests of everyone and personal property rights,” he added.
- Germany and EU
Cavusoglu also said that he met with his German counterpart Heiko Mass on the sidelines of the conference and discussed bilateral relations and the Upper Karabakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) issue between Azerbaijan and occupying Armenia.
“We once again told them our disappointment with the EU summit [last week] and the decision that came out of the summit,” he added.
Earlier this week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Cavusoglu and then Dendias to resolve the tensions over energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The visits came after Turkey and Greece reached a "common understanding on general principles" on the Eastern Mediterranean in meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels last week.
Tensions have recently escalated regarding the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the region.
To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region's resources.
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