Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias discussed the mechanics of their Turkey-Greece exploratory talks on Sunday, as the two countries continue efforts to resolve their bilateral issues.
The 60th and the last round of the exploratory talks, which began on March 12, 2002, were held in March 2016. After being suspended by the Greek government, they continued in the form of political discussions.
It was announced earlier that the next round of the exploratory meetings would take place in Istanbul.
The upcoming talks will be the 61st of its kind, as the neighboring nations continue working to resolve their problems in the Eastern Mediterranean, with an aim to come up with a fair, sustainable and inclusive solution.
The meetings had continued regularly up until 2016, but since that date, both due to political conjecture and the Greek side's reluctance, there have not been any new rounds.
Germany's efforts to mediate between the two countries renewed hope of restarting the talks. Progress, however, was interrupted when Greece signed a maritime deal with Egypt on Aug. 6, causing the discussions to be put aside again.
Turkey has demanded that the host of disagreements it has with Greece be handled as a whole. Those include territorial waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, the continental shelf, demilitarization of the islands, the legal status of geographical formations, the width of national airspace and search and rescue operations.
Turkey also demands that the topics of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) should be approached with equitable principles, unlike Greece's current expansionist approach.
The country also rejects the one-sided steps by Greece in concert with the Greek Cypriot administration in the region, which, Turkey says, overlooks the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Exploratory talks refer to having bilateral dialogue during which the parties have a critical, but also a constructive approach to each others' opinions. During the discussions, the sides provide the necessary information to each other, propose recommendations to solve problems, discuss these recommendations and then, hopefully, reach an agreement. This format of talks is usually used when there are multiple issues between the parties as the method is regarded as one of the best ways to enhance dialogue in a diplomatic way. In this respect, the problems are treated as a whole package, and when one problem is not solved, the others are considered to be unsolved as well.
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