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Last week, Ankara and Greece said they are resuming exploratory talks over contested maritime claims, which were halted in 2016. Tensions between Turkey and its neighbor, EU member Greece, flared after Ankara last month sent a vessel with seismological equipment to search for hydrocarbons in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean. During the Greece-Turkey standoff, their warships collided as Ankara sent its Oruc Reis seismological survey ship into disputed waters. However, Athens and Ankara agreed to restart exploratory talks after Turkey recalled the Oruc Reis.
A date for the Turkey-Greece talks has yet to be decided, but Kalin said the talks would focus not just on issues of continental shelves and maritime limits, but on islands and air space. He also expressed hope that political consultation and military-to-military talks could resume.
“In all of these three tracks we believe we will make some good progress very soon,” the spokesman said. He noted that diplomatic efforts could produce a “more positive atmosphere” in relations with the EU and, in particular, with France. Paris says its frigate on a NATO mission tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship suspected of smuggling arms to Libya on June 10, but was harassed by Turkish navy vessels. Ankara denies this, accusing the French frigate of aggressive actions.
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