Regarding the course of Greek-Turkish relations one sees an apparently positive shift in Ankara’s policy with the withdrawal of the Turkish oil and gas exploration ship Oruc Reis from the area of Greece’s continental shelf.

The move could potentially create a new environment in the broader region of the Eastern Mediterranean, de-escalate tensions and reduce the heightened concerns that have been looming since July.

If Ankara has indeed opted for a policy shift that reduces the danger of a military accident or clash, that could open the way for exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey.

The Greek government justifiably appears satisfied with Turkey’s first move toward de-escalation without concessions from Athens and with a halt of provocations.

From the start Greece has stressed the need for all parties to abide by international law and to that end launched an international diplomatic blitz to garner support for Athens’ positions.
Turkey’s decision to back off for now, however, does not permit complacency.

The continuity and dedication to de-escalation that Greece seeks is the only way to determine whether Ankara is simply making a tactical move to escape intense and mounting international pressures.

Turkey also wants to avert possible EU sanction at the extraordinary 24-25 September summit.

The conflicting statements of various Turkish officials understandably are maintaining a climate of suspicion.

If the crisis of the last two months is part of a strategic plan, then there will be a revival of Turkish provocations.

The Oruc Reis will remain docked in Antalya as long as Erdogan wants to appear conciliatory.

The road to dialogue may prove to be exceptionally long.

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