Greek Foreign Minister due in Turkey due in Turkey for talks
Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos is expected to visit Turkey on Friday as part of consultations on cooperation between the two countries. A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the Greek foreign minister's visit is to reciprocate the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Athens in October last year. Davutoglu will hold talks with Avramopulos during his visit in preparation for the High Level Cooperation Council between Turkey and Greece. The council will take place on March 5. The Greek foreign minister's visit comes a month after Turkey said it is closely following any attempt by Greece to unilaterally set the boundaries of its exclusive economic zone and disregard the long-term exploratory talks with Turkey to solve the disagreement over the limits of the two countries' continental shelf domain in the Aegean Sea. A recent report in the Greek media said that crisis-hit Greece is preparing to apply to the UN to determine the boundaries of its exclusive economic zone in the Aegean so as to begin oil explorations as a measure to address its economic troubles. The prospect of such an attempt has raised fears that the deep-seated but mostly frozen territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean might be revived again. Ankara strongly rejects any Greek attempts to extend its territorial waters from the current six nautical miles to 12. Tensions peaked in the 1990s when Greece ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). As a measure to counter any Greek declaration that its territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles, the Turkish Parliament officially declared that any Greek unilateral attempt would be considered a "casus belli," a reason to declare war. Turkey and Greece are at odds over the delimitation of the exclusive economic zones due to a dispute over to what extent the Greek islands off the Turkish coast should be taken into consideration while determining the borders of the Turkish and Greek exclusive economic zones.