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Mitsotakis-Erdogan Meeting in Ankara Fixed for May 13

Featured Mitsotakis-Erdogan Meeting in Ankara Fixed for May 13

A highly anticipated meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara has been fixed for May 13.

Mitsotakis himself confirmed the date in statements on Thursday after the conclusion of an extraordinary EU Council meeting in Brussels.

The visit by the Greek leader to the Turkish capital is seen as reciprocal of Erdogan’s visit to Athens last December.

While fielding press questions, Mitsotakis was asked directly about the latest reactions by official Turkey to Greece’s intent to create an undersea marine park across the central Aegean (along with another in the Ionian Sea).

“Turkey’s unwarranted reaction also made an impression on me,” he said, in echoing recent statements by the Greek foreign ministry.

“Greece is exercising its sovereignty and rights based on international law and the Law of the Sea, and Turkey’s unwarranted reaction to an environmental initiative also made an impression on me. We will proceed with the creation of the (marine) parks, as we committed to doing, during a recent conference in Athens.”

In continuing, the Greek premier also noted that “I do not consider that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, which is indisputable and measurable, leads to a working premise that Turkey’s positions regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEC) have changed, thereby they remain deeply problematic for our country. However, this does not prevent us from building on a positive agenda.”

“Tomorrow (Friday), for instance, I will be in Mytilene (the capital of the island of Lesvos) and other eastern Aegean islands, where there is satisfaction over the fact that Turks can travel to those islands without a (previously issued) visa.”

Turkey’s foreign and defense ministries have officially and unofficial maintained that Ankara will not accept what it claims is “unilateral and de facto situations in the Aegean.”

Turkey has not signed, ratified of fully adheres to, de facto, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as do all EU member-states, for instance. Among others, Turkey unilaterally does not recognize Greece’s right, under UNCLOS and previous case law, to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles.