Greece says it's close to resuming maritime talks with Turkey

ATHENS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Greece is close to resuming talks with Turkey over maritime zones, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Monday.

NATO members Turkey and Greece bitterly disagree over maritime jurisdiction and energy exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month when Turkey sent the Oruc Reis seismic survey vessel to waters also claimed by Greece.

The Oruc Reis returned to port last week for what Ankara called routine maintenance, a move Greece said was a positive first step toward defusing the stand-off.

“We’re close to resuming exploratory talks, but how soon this will happen depends on both sides, on Greece and Turkey. The sentiment is good,” Petsas told reporters.

Earlier discussions between Athens and Ankara on demarcating maritime zones broke down in 2016. Greek media have reported that exploratory talks could start as early as this week. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and George Georgiopoulos Editing by Mark Heinrich)