The 61st round of the Exploratory Talks between Turkey and Greece will take place in Istanbul on Jan. 25, 2021, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu invited Greece for exploratory talks with the first meeting scheduled this month, in remarks made on Monday at a news conference in Ankara.
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexandros Papaioannou, responding to a question, said in a written statement, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received no invitation so far from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the setting of a date for the 61st round of Exploratory Talks."
"As you know, Greece has expressed its willingness to positively respond in the case of a relevant Turkish invitation, on the basis of international law and concerning the delimitation of the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) and continental shelf," he added.
The 60th round, the last of the exploratory talks initiated between the two countries in 2002, was held in Athens on March 1, 2016. After this date, the bilateral negotiations continued in the form of political consultations but did not return to an exploratory framework.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in the region and stressed that these excessive assertions violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Ankara has sent several drillships in the past weeks to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the TRNC.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiation.