The seismic research vessel Oruç Reis is now parked inside the port of Antalya. The magic behind the rapprochement is named “Merkel” — but the recent spike of the Euro (and the U.S. dollar) vis-à-vis the Turkish lira may have to do with the sudden change of hearts in Ankara.
Putin, Greek PM stress preserving Hagia Sophia as universal heritage in phone call requested by Athens
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed preserving Istanbul's Hagia Sophia as universal heritage in a phone call requested by Athens. "[They] emphasized the unmatched cultural, historic and religious significance of that unique World Heritage Site and noted the importance of preserving it as universal heritage and a symbol of peace and cohesion," the Kremlin said.
The eastern Mediterranean region where a Turkish ship will carry out a seismic survey is part of Turkey's continental shelf, Ankara said on July 22, rejecting Greece's accusation that the ship is encroaching on its own shelf. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the ship Oruç Reis will operate in an area where Ankara awarded licences to Turkish energy company TPAO in 2012, within continental shelf boundaries of which the United Nations has been notified.
A secret trilateral meeting held between Ankara, Athens and Berlin has stirred debate in Greece, with Greek opposition parties calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to clarify the issue. "Secret diplomacy shows that the Mitsotakis government is on the back foot," Syriza spokesman Alexis Haritsis told the party's radio station Sto Kokkino 105.5.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Athens urged European Union (EU) states to have "crippling sanctions" against Ankara ready in case the latter continues drilling in waters claimed by Greece.
This step involving the Hagia Sophia has totally destroyed the deception that Turkey has preserved its multi-religious, multicultural and multi-identity features as a country. Since we have passed the expiry date of lies, what is next now? Is there another topic of victimization left?
Greek governor wants mosque restoration works on Lesbos to be stopped after Turkey’s Hagia Sophia move
A regional Greek governor has said that Greece cannot stay indifferent to Turkey's Hagia Sophia move and demanded that ongoing restoration works at the historical Valide Mosque on Lesbos island be stopped. The 17th-century Valide Mosque is being restored under a 1.2 million euro grant from the EU regional development fund for the Aegean islands.
Greece has described Turkey's decision to convert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia to a mosque as "unnecessary and petty" and said it is "considering its response at all levels." "With this backward action, Turkey is opting to sever links with western world and its values," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on July 14.
Ankara wants to play the “Leader of the Muslim world card” — but there is more to Hagia Sophia’s conversion than just that. Just like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “West Bank annexation” policy, Ankara banks on the strategy of “creating an international problem to overshadow debating domestic grievances and making national politics dependent on the existing government through isolation” strategy.
International relations look more and more like a marketing and sales activity. And yes, diplomacy, by default, looks at least to me, more and more like stand-up comedy.
Turkey's conversion of iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque has prompted criticism in the international arena. The United States, the European Union, Greece, UNESCO and Russian Orthodox Church were among those to express concern about Ankara's move.
Northern Cyprus will be maintaining a requirement for travelers from Turkey to get tested both before their departure, and upon their arrival. Northern Cyprus placed Turkey in a medium-risk group along with Italy, Spain and France.
Ankara is more concerned with France’s involvement in Libya than either Greece or Cyprus at the moment. Is this a window of opportunity for a Turkey and Greece-Cyprus rapprochement? It might be, provided that the EU concedes to visa liberalization, the Customs Union, or both.
Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas has said that Greece will reopen seven of its 14 border crossings in the north on July 1 as part of ongoing efforts to welcome back tourists. Two of these border crossings are with Turkey.
Four migrants are missing after a boat sank off of Turkey's Aegean coast in the early morning of June 28. While coast guard rescued 35 migrants off of the sinking boat, the search for the missing four is ongoing.