The 63rd round of consultative talks between Turkey and Greece was held in Ankara on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said.
The talks, which began in March 2002, aim to resolve bilateral disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean and lay the groundwork for a fair, lasting and comprehensive settlement to outstanding issues in the Aegean Sea.
The 62nd round of talks had been held in Athens on March 16 and the 61st were in Istanbul on Jan. 25, marking the first direct talks between the two countries in nearly five years after Athens suspended them following the 60th round in March 2016.
Bilateral talks between the countries continued in the form of political consultations but did not return to the exploratory framework.
The two NATO allies have been at odds over decades-old issues including the extent of air and maritime boundaries in the Aegean Sea and the future of the divided island of Cyprus. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots ruled out discussing a federal system to reunify the island, insisting that a two-state accord is the only way forward.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims made by European Union 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). Both sides cite a range of decades-old treaties and international agreements to support their conflicting territorial claims.
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 has opted to rally Brussels to take a tougher stance against Turkey.
In January, the two countries agreed to resume talks after a five-year hiatus following months of tensions. Since then, Ankara and Athens have held two rounds of talks, with the previous one in Athens in March.