63rd round of Turkey-Greece consultative talks held in Ankara

Talks addressing issues in Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean following 5-year hiatus.

63rd round of Turkey-Greece consultative talks held in Ankara

Turkey hosted the 63rd round of consultative talks with Greece in its capital Ankara on Wednesday, according to Turkish Foreign Ministry.

On Twitter, the ministry said that the "63rd round of Consultative Talks between Turkey and Greece was held in Ankara today."

The talks, which began in March 2002, aim to resolve bilateral disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean, and lay the groundwork for a fair, lasting, and comprehensive settlement to outstanding issues in the Aegean Sea.

The 62nd round of talks had been held in Athens on March 16 and the 61st were in Istanbul on Jan. 25, marking the first direct talks between the two countries in nearly five years after Athens suspended them following the 60th round in March 2016.

Bilateral talks between them continued in the form of political consultations but did not return to the exploratory framework.

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 sent several drill ships last year 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.