Turkey and Greece should maintain a spirit of rapprochement and continue improving their bilateral relations despite a crisis unfolding in the eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbon exploration rights, Greek experts have said.
“It is very important to maintain the momentum so that our relations are defined overall by the continuity of progress, rather than by the way we move from one crisis to the other,” Alex Rondos, who was once an advisor to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou when he was Greece’s foreign minister, told Sunday’s Zaman in an interview in İstanbul last week. Addressing the wide range of issues that could directly or indirectly impact bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey, Rondos said there has been increasing cooperation, discussion and openness to communication between the two countries over the past decade.
After decades of hostility stemming from disputes over Cyprus and territorial rights in the Aegean, Turkey and Greece initiated an unprecedented rapprochement in the wake of a devastating earthquake in northwestern Anatolia in 1999. Most of the disagreements have yet to be resolved even after dozens of rounds of closed-door “exploratory talks” between diplomats of the two countries, but political and people-to-people contacts have flourished nonetheless.