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Gas dispute: Athens and Ankara resume talks

On January 25 Greece and Turkey intend to resume negotiations on the gas dispute. However, the two sides have completely different expectations: Athens intends to talk only about the exclusive economic zone and the gas deposits there. Ankara, on the other hand, would also like to discuss maritime boundaries around the Greek islands off the Turkish coast. The media of both countries urge their governments not to give up their positions.

First Step

Naftemporiki expresses cautious optimism and hopes that the talks will bring detente:

“The invitation to resume the probe is definitely the first step toward detente. ... Even so, it is clear that the path will be long and difficult because Turkey intends to expand its agenda — and believes it can do even more. ... Greece, on the other hand, has made it clear that it does not accept an expanded agenda — and has reiterated that it will only be about defining maritime borders. Either way, the next weeks will be extremely important. ... And it will soon become clear whether the Turkish president will retain his European face — or whether that mask will soon become too much for him.”

Trapped in Dialogue

The fact that Athens enters these talks without a clear agenda is fraught with big trouble writes Dimokratia:

“The Turkish side is already trying to formulate an agenda, and it is much more extensive than the one the Greek side agrees to discuss — at least according to the official discourse. ... Many experts fear that by agreeing to such a vague agenda, we will be confronted again and again with high-stakes situations if these talks go nowhere. That's exactly what happened the last 60 times!”

That's not how Turkey will get anywhere!

In order to please the EU, the U.S., and NATO, the Turkish authorities are jeopardizing the country's interests,” Cumhuriyet indignantly says:

“The AKP-led government has now slowed down and agreed to sit down with Greece! For this, it has withdrawn its demands, it has recalled the Orudj Reis research ship off the coast of Antalya and it has accepted Athens' very conditional and limited agenda. And all this only to overcome obstacles such as the start of Joe Biden's presidency on January 20, the NATO meeting scheduled for February 17, and the EU summit on March 25. It's possible that the ruling party can buy some time by overcoming these obstacles, but by backtracking and deciding to compromise, it is at the same time endangering the interests of the country.”

Empathy is what is needed now

Turkish Handelsblatt correspondent Ozan Demircan writes about how rapprochement between the European Union and Turkey could be achieved in 2021:

“Of course, there will be pressure, but Americans and Europeans should think carefully about how far they can go. In the short term, sanctions can be very painful, but in the long term, they will reorient Turkey. It would make much more sense to link the implementation of joint projects with the convergence of political positions. A customs union could be such a project, which would benefit both sides. In addition, now more than ever, the dialogue is important. And what is lacking now, and on both sides, is empathy. Only when both sides realize that they depend on each other will a rapprochement be possible. And now Ankara and Athens have a chance to prove it.

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