Erdogan foretells ‘new era’ with Greece, eyes wider EU rapprochement Jan 13, 2021 0 386 12345 dpa Istanbul The resumption of talks between Ankara and Athens to resolve some of their differences over maritime borders and energy exploration will “herald a new era,” Turkey’s president said on Tuesday.The 61st round of exploratory talks between the neighbouring NATO members - the first since 2016 - are due to be held in Istanbul on January 25.Turkey and Greece have been at loggerheads over natural gas reserves and maritime boundaries, with both claiming the right to prospect and drill for energy resources in the same part of the eastern Mediterranean.“We need to make the eastern Mediterranean a basin of cooperation that will serve our long-term interests, rather than an area of competition,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told EU ambassadors in Ankara, but told Greece to cease acts that “escalate tensions.” The stand-off with both Greece and Cyprus last summer saw Turkey send research vessels into contested waters, EU allies dispatch ships to the region to back Greece’s claims, and both Ankara and Athens carry out manoeuvres with frigates and fighter jets.Greece accuses Turkey of illegally exploring for natural gas off its islands. Ankara rejects the allegations, saying the waters belong to the Turkish continental shelf.Turkey has been subjected to “serious injustice” in the eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said, adding that peace was impossible without the participation of Ankara and Turkish Cypriots.The Mediterranean island state of Cyprus has, since a conflict in 1974, been split into a Greek south and a Turkish north whose sovereignty is recognized only by Ankara. Peace talks brokered by the United Nations have failed.The inflamed tensions in the Mediterranean also severely tested ties between Turkey and France, but Erdogan signalled reconciliation with Paris as he outlined a wider rapprochement with the bloc.While EU accession talks started in 2005, ties soured after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey and are now frozen.Yet, Erdogan maintained Turkey was prepared to put relations back on track and was committed to the goal of full EU membership.“The uncertainty that has increased with Brexit can only be eliminated with Turkey taking the place it deserves in the European family,” he said.He said he expects that “European friends show the same determination.” Ankara is keen to turn a new page in its relationship with the bloc, its fragile economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.The EU is Turkey’s largest trading partner.The EU’s threatened punitive measures last year over Turkey’s drilling activities will be reassessed at a summit in March.Meanwhile, Erdogan said he has invited European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel to Turkey. And his top diplomat, Mevlut Cavusoglu, is to visit Brussels. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Speech that incited supporters was ‘totally appropriate’: Trump Jan 13, 2021 0 224 Republican megadonor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson dies at 86 Jan 13, 2021 0 218 School in France shut for second day over teacher death threats Jan 13, 2021 0 43 AstraZeneca applies for EU authorisation amid COVID-19 vaccine push dpa Brussels British-Swedish producer AstraZeneca has applied for conditional EU authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday. This would be the third .. Ukraine’s foreign minister against Sputnik V vaccine dpa Kiev Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitri Kuleba said on Tuesday he does not want the country to grant approval to the Russian-developed COVID-19 vaccine, known as Sputnik V, and would prefer to wait for others to become .. Eight killed in apartment fire in Russia’s Ural region MOSCOW: Eight people were killed, including a 7-year-old child, after a fire broke out in an apartment block in the Russian metropolis of Yekaterinburg in the early hours of Tuesday. Nine others were injured after the .. Iran has become the new home base for al-Qaeda group, says Pompeo dpa Washington US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said that Iran has become the new home base for al-Qaeda, and the US will impose sanctions on the Sunni militant group’s Iran-based members. “Tehran gives ..