During the past year relations between Turkey and Greece have simmered just below a boil, with both sides accusing the other of breaches of faith, borders, and intent. Provocative exchanges between the two countries are nothing new — ever since the end of World War Two the two sovereign nations have rattled sabers at each other as regular as clockwork over a number of perceived insults and threats.
But last Friday the Turkish Foregin Ministry appeared to be willing to turn down the rhetoric a wee bit, as it issued a diplomatic communique to Greece calling for ‘sustained dialogue in lieu of armed confrontation’ in matters of disputed territory and fishing rights.
Fishing in the eastern Mediterranean has been a sore spot between the two countries, more so now than in the past as fish stocks continue to dwindle at an alarming rate. The two nations, who rely heavily on fish for their own diets as well as for export, are close to an agreement on a six month fishing moratorium this spring.
And the deadlock over the occupation of the Aegean Islands by Turkey, which Greece claims is a brazen invasion of their territory, looks to be resolved at a round table conference to be held in Monaco next month. The trick will be to find a way for Turkey to save face while withdrawing her troops from the islands.