Greece, Turkey, meet for fresh talks on maritime dispute

ATHENS (AFP) – NATO members Greece and Turkey meet in Athens yesterday to try once more to settle their standoff over eastern Mediterranean borders and energy rights.

Ankara ratcheted up the pressure a notch on Monday with a diplomatic note to Israel, Greece and the European Union (EU), Turkish media reported.

It told them to seek its permission before assuming work on a proposed undersea power cable in disputed eastern Mediterranean waters, Turkish state media reported on Monday.

Both sides cite a range of decades-old treaties and international agreements to support their conflicting territorial claims.

Hostilities flared last year when Ankara sent a research ship accompanied by a navy flotilla into waters near the Turkish coast that Greece asserts are theirs – a claim the EU supports.

Those waters are thought to be a possible source of natural gas reserves.

Turkey is furious that Athens is using its web of islands to lay claim to huge swathes of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

Yesterday’s meeting follows one in Istanbul in January, the first direct talks between the two sides on the dispute in nearly five years – and which happened only after pressure from the EU.

But the discussion will also be the 62nd such meeting since 2000, a long series that so far has little to show for it.