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'Turkey hopes to find solutions in talks with Greece'

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Mugla, Turkey on 22 December 2020 [Arif Akdoğan/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar in Mugla, Turkey on 22 December 2020 [Arif Akdoğan/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey's defence chief expressed hope that lawful solutions to bilateral issues will be found during talks with Greece starting in Istanbul next week, Anadolu Agency reports.

"In talks with Greece, we hope that issues will be dealt with within the framework of rights, law, and equity, and that solutions are found," National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said at launch and welding ceremonies for new Turkish-built ships.

Akar further underlined Turkey's expectation that Greece "respects [Turkey's] rights in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean and avoids actions that may cause misunderstandings."

On Monday, Turkey and Greece are set to resume exploratory talks after a four-year hiatus.

The talks are expected to focus on bilateral disputes, including maritime boundaries and drilling rights in the region.

READ: Turkey and the Gulf states

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Ankara last year sent several drill ships to explore for energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.

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