Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday that Turkey had proposed “joint development of the wealth-producing Aegean Sea with Greece.” According to the Turkish minister, he received a positive response.
Speaking to reporters after an extraordinary meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Akar said:
“This is important from the point of view of the prosperity of the peoples of the two countries, the sharing of the beauty and wealth of the Aegean Sea. There is tourism, fishing and many other riches. We are in favor of their sharing, we said it.”
“We received a positive response from our interlocutor in this sense,” Akar said, most likely referring to his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos, with whom he had a brief meeting on Wednesday in Brussels.
“We expect them to move forward in this direction. We are constructive, positive, this is our approach,” Akar told daily ethnos and other media.
From the Greek side, IG MO Panagiotopoulosit became known only that the two ministers agreed on the fourth round of negotiations on confidence-building measures (CBMs) and reducing tensions in the region, but nothing on the “joint exploitation of the Aegean Sea”.
Quite interestingly, when addressing the nation on energy support measures on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made a short note about “exploiting the nation’s natural gas resources for economic benefit.” He said that relevant announcements would be made soon.
Mitsotakis met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday in what appeared to be a last-minute invitation. However, according to an exclusive report from the news site eideiseis.grthe meeting has been secretly prepared for the past two months and has been expelled from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
reportedthat Mitsotakis and Erdogan agreed to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean and maintain stability in the area in the shadow of the war in Ukraine.
So far, at noon on Thursday, Akar’s claims have not been refuted or confirmed by the Greek government. There is no reaction even from opposition parties. Apparently they are all shocked by this statement and are now convulsively gathering their thoughts to answer.
Some Greeks are wondering on social media whether the Greek Ministry of Defense is authorized to make such important agreements, or whether the Prime Minister can act unilaterally without consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other institutions.