The pressure falls around Greece in the Macron-Erdogan face-to-face

DECRYPTION – The appeasement in the Eastern Mediterranean does not resolve the other disputes between France and Turkey.

Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018, in Istanbul.  During their telephone interview concerning the tensions in the Mediterranean, the two heads of state put forward “their arguments” and “their willingness to exchange regularly and open other subjects in common”.
Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018, in Istanbul. During their telephone interview concerning the tensions in the Mediterranean, the two heads of state argued “Their arguments” and “Their willingness to exchange regularly and open up other subjects in common”. MURAD SEZER / REUTERS

This is the first sign of de-escalation since the summer. After weeks of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey have opted for appeasement and say they are ready for negotiations, which should take place soon in Istanbul. This de-escalation measure came on the eve of a European Council, finally postponed because of Covid, which was to put the issue of sanctions against Turkey on the table. It was facilitated by the mediation of Angela Merkel, who spoke on the phone with the Turkish president on Tuesday evening. And by Emmanuel Macron, who also spoke at length, over an hour, to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Between Paris and Ankara, relations were at their lowest since France showed its support for Greece by deploying warships in the eastern Mediterranean. But the interview, they say at the Élysée, was “constructive”, «without tensions». «Everyone has made their own arguments” but with “the desire to exchange regularly and open

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Greece and Turkey will have exploratory talks on the eastern Mediterranean

AGI – Turkey and Greece will start “exploratory talks” on the differences in the eastern Mediterranean, the first since 2016 between the two NATO allies: the announcement came from the Turkish presidency after a video conference between the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the German chancellor , Angela Merkel, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. Participants stated that “Turkey and Greece are ready to start exploratory talks” on the eastern Mediterranean where the two countries duel over areas potentially rich in natural gas. The confirmation came from the Hellenic Foreign Ministry: “Greece and Turkey have decided to hold exploratory talks in Istanbul soon”, reads a statement.

Erdogan and “sincere dialogue”

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called for a “sincere dialogue” to resolve the dispute between Turkey, Greece and the European Union in the Mediterranean, and has rejected any “aggression” against his country. “Our priority is to resolve conflicts through sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis,” said the Turkish head of state in his speech to the UN General Assembly via videoconference. “However, I want to make it clear that we will never tolerate any diktat, aggression or attack,” he added.

Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

Erdogan’s statements come as Athens and Ankara collide over areas of the eastern Mediterranean potentially rich in natural gas. The tension had intensified at the end of August, when the two countries had carried out rival military maneuvers. But the recent return to port of a Turkish research ship deployed in the eastern Mediterranean has fueled hopes for peace.
The two countries have therefore agreed to start exploratory talks on their differences, according to the Turkish presidency. French President Emmanuel Macron, Greece’s main ally in the crisis, and Erdogan are scheduled to have a telephone conversation to discuss the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

The idea of ​​a regional conference

The Turkish president also proposed organizing a regional conference to discuss “the rights and interests” of the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean, including the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. For the Turkish head of state, “the unilateral initiatives of Greece and Greek Cypriots” are at the origin of the crisis in the area.
In his speech, Erdogan also criticized, without naming them, the countries that announced “their intention to open embassies in Jerusalem, in violation of United Nations resolutions and international law”. For the Turkish president, only the creation of an “independent and sovereign Palestinian state” with East Jerusalem as its capital can resolve the conflict. “Seeking solutions other than this will be pointless, one-sided and unfair,” he said. French President Emmanuel Macron, Greece’s main ally in the crisis, and Erdogan are scheduled to have a telephone conversation to discuss tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan advances his pawns in the Eastern Mediterranean

INFOGRAPHICS – The tension between Ankara and Athens increases with the launch of Turkish maneuvers and shooting exercises.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on television in Ankara, Turkey on August 24.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on television in Ankara, Turkey on August 24. Turkish Presidency/AP

He dreams of a modern-day sultan, the successor of the caliphs of the former Ottoman Empire. Speech after speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan never stops summoning the past and revisiting history to justify his regional ambitions. The day before yesterday, Syria. Yesterday, Libya. Today Greece and the Mediterranean basin. No later than this Sunday, August 30, he again openly attacked Athens by declaring about the dispute over the sharing of gas resources in the Mediterranean Sea: “Are the Greek people accepting what may happen to them because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?” Before adding on a martial tone: “When it comes to fighting, we do not hesitate to give martyrs (…) The question is the following: are those who set up against us in the Mediterranean and (in the Middle East) ready for the same? sacrifices? “

The standoff between Turkey and Greece took a new turn this weekend with the launch of new military maneuvers,

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan advances his pawns in the Eastern Mediterranean

INFOGRAPHICS – The tension between Ankara and Athens increases with the launch of Turkish maneuvers and shooting exercises.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on television in Ankara, Turkey on August 24.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on television in Ankara, Turkey on August 24. Turkish Presidency/AP

He dreams of a modern-day sultan, the successor of the caliphs of the former Ottoman Empire. Speech after speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan never stops summoning the past and revisiting history to justify his regional ambitions. The day before yesterday, Syria. Yesterday, Libya. Today Greece and the Mediterranean basin. No later than this Sunday, August 30, he again openly attacked Athens by declaring about the dispute over the sharing of gas resources in the Mediterranean Sea: “Are the Greek people accepting what may happen to them because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?” Before adding on a martial tone: “When it comes to fighting, we do not hesitate to give martyrs (…) The question is the following: are those who set up against us in the Mediterranean and (in the Middle East) ready for the same? sacrifices? “

The standoff between Turkey and Greece took a new turn this weekend with the launch of new military maneuvers,

This article is for subscribers only. You have 78% left to discover.

Subscribe: 1 € the first month

Can be canceled at any time

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