The ninth technical meeting on Eastern Mediterranean disputes between Turkish and Greek military delegations in Brussels concluded Friday, according to the Defense Ministry.
The meeting at NATO headquarters was to discuss establishing a deconfliction mechanism between the two countries amid disputes about maritime boundaries and related issues.
NATO said in October that such a mechanism "is designed to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. It includes the creation of a hotline between Turkey and Greece to facilitate de-confliction at sea or in the air."
Starting in September, Turkish and Greek military delegations held a series of technical talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss the Eastern Mediterranean.
It was recently reported that Greece has been hindering the NATO-led mechanism to resolve tensions and conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean by refusing to attend talks.
The technical talks on determining the details of the deconfliction mechanism between Turkey and Greece that were to take place on Nov. 30 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels could not be held due to the absence of the Greek delegation.
“The Turkish side has always attended the meetings on determining the military measures on the deconfliction mechanism in the Eastern Mediterranean, which were launched with the initiatives of the NATO secretary-general, and will continue to do so,” Turkish security sources said.
Commenting on the talks, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg last week said that Turkey and Greece are "valued allies" and the bloc's role is to provide a platform to address differences between the two countries.
Speaking at an online webinar hosted by U.K.-based think tank Chatham House, he had said that disagreements can be overcome through "honest discussions."
Last month, Turkey and Greece launched the first direct exploratory talks in nearly five years to address their disputes related to sovereignty rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. That meeting in Istanbul, the 61st round, lasted only a few hours but both sides said that they had agreed to meet again in Athens.
Turkish and Greek officials will likely meet again between the end of February and early March to revive efforts to resolve the maritime boundary dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday.
The two NATO allies have been at odds over a number of decades-old issues, including the extent of their continental shelves, overflights in the Aegean Sea and the ethnically split island of Cyprus. Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims made by EU members Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations. Instead of opting to solve problems with Ankara through dialogue, Athens has, on several occasions, refused to sit at the negotiation table and opted to rally Brussels to adopt a tougher stance against Turkey.