Let Us Continue Dialogue: Statement by Greek and Turkish Members of the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative

Let Us Continue Dialogue : Statement by Greek and Turkish EMI members ahead of Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Ankara

Let Us Continue Dialogue: Statement by Greek and Turkish Members of the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative

A statement by Greek and Turkish members of the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative – convened by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy – among them Prof. Yücel Acer, Lt Gen (retd) Ioannis Anastasakis, Ms Antonia Dimou, Prof. Talha Köse, Prof. Petros Liacouras and Prof. Zuhal Mert Uzuner.

One hundred years ago, Turks and Greeks put an end to decades of confrontations through the Treaty of Lausanne. Within only a few years, this led to almost miraculous friendship between the two countries. Since then, however, new conflicts arose over issues that were not on the table in Lausanne, among them the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and beyond, as the Law of the Sea evolved at the global level. Nonetheless, the issues to be resolved are much less complex and painful than the ones that were settled one hundred years ago. And the reward for overcoming the differences would be a huge win-win situation for both nations. The way to a settlement is not going to be easy and will require a will to accommodate each other’s crucial and legitimate concerns. The fact that the supreme principle in both customary international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is that of “equitableness”, could greatly assist overcoming differences.

The Greek and Turkish people have lived side by side for hundreds of years, sharing the same geography and developing commonalities in culture and customs. It is a fact, proven through countless personal encounters and by recent opinion surveys in both countries, that at a personal level, Greeks and Turks get along well and do not see each other as enemies. All of us, as individuals and members of our respective societies, can contribute in this spirit to overcome remaining prejudices and distorted concepts of the other side and create a degree of understanding of its legitimate concerns. This is required if common ground is to be found.

Thus, we can encourage and support our leaders in going down the road of completing the basis of peaceful and fruitful neighborly co-existence, that was established one hundred years ago. They have recently decided to engage in an enhanced process of dialogue and deserve our full support in this endeavor. Success in their search for common ground will have positive repercussions outside our borders in the whole Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. At a time when to the north of our region, political differences have led to unbearable bloodshed and destruction, this could inspire others. Once again, the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, which is the cradle of various civilizations, could become a beacon of light onto humanity. Let us not squander this opportunity.

The Statement, “Let Us Continue Dialogue” was mentioned in the following articles: 

i.     Türk-Yunan Sorunlarını Çözmek: Samimi Bir Diyalog ve Gerçekçi Bir Diplomasi - YÜCEL ACER (sabah.com.tr)

ii.     High Time for Multi-Track Dialogues between Greece and Turkey - Modern Diplomacy

iii.     هل حان الوقت لإجراء حوارات متعددة المسارات بين تركيا واليونان؟ (zamanarabic.com)