Greek PM Mitsotakis to meet with Erdoğan in Ankara on May 13

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced that he will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on May 13, reciprocating a visit Erdoğan paid to Athens in December, according to Greek media.

Mitsotakis confirmed the date in a statement as the European Council’s special two-day summit wrapped up in Brussels on Thursday in which he also described Turkey’s recent reaction to Greece’s declaration on the creation of marine environmental parks in the Aegean Sea as completely unjustified.

Last week Turkey criticized Greece’s plans to create two large marine parks, one in the Ionian Sea and one in the Aegean, to protect biodiversity and marine ecosystems, drawing an angry reaction from Turkey, as Ankara is contesting the sovereignty of some of the maritime territory involved. Turkey’s foreign ministry accused Athens of exploiting environmental issues to push its geopolitical agenda.

The two neighbors, also NATO allies, have had long-standing disputes over exploratory drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean and the divided island of Cyprus as well as rival claims over the Aegean Sea.

The Turkish foreign ministry said it would “not accept fait accompli” Athens’ decision to declare two marine parks in the Aegean and Ionian seas ahead of an oceans conference in Greece on April 15-17.

“Greece exercises its sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea on the basis of international law and the law of the sea, and I am [surprised] by this completely unjustified reaction of Turkey to an [environmental] initiative,” Mitsotakis said.

He added that he does not think that the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations means that Turkey’s positions regarding the delimitation of maritime zones have automatically changed.

After years of tension over migration, energy rights and maritime borders in the Aegean Sea, Greece and Turkey restarted high-level talks in December when President Erdoğan paid his first to Athens since 2017 and signed a declaration of friendship between the two historic rivals.

Source: Turkish Minute