Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed their support for a Cyprus solution and a shared desire for peace and cooperation in the Aegean, during joint statements after their meeting in Ankara on Tuesday.
Kotzias said the two-hour meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere and a willingness to find solutions on all matters.
Among others, they decided on a resumption of exploratory talks for delineating the Aegean continental shelf and promote confidence building measures, especially for maritime security, the Greek Minister said.
The present juncture also presented an opportunity to find a solution to the Cyprus problem that protects the rights of both communities on the island, he added.
Kotzias said it is important for Cyprus to once again become an independent and sovereign state, free of guarantor powers, which had friendly relations with all sides. In response to questions, he stressed the Greek government’s support for the negotiations on the Cyprus problem and Athens’ willingness to facilitate a solution in every way.
“We want the Cyprus problem solved but in the right way,” he added, noting that the election of Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was a very good opportunity.
The Greek Minister also underlined Athens’ steadfast support for Turkey’s EU accession.
Another key issue discussed at the meeting was that of illegal migration, where the two Ministers agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on the level of Justice and Foreign Ministries of both countries, as well as on a much stricter framework of laws.
Cavusoglu confirmed a shared desire for peace and cooperation in the Aegean, noting that it is now possible to implement measures that avert danger and tensions.
He said Turkey wants to build its relationship with the new Greek government within a “positive agenda” and noted the two-way rise in tourism between the two countries in recent years, calling for improved transport links by sea and air.
On the Cyprus problem, he said there was joint political will for its solution and expressed satisfaction with the resumption of negotiations on May 15. Cavusoglu referred to “determination” in both Greece and Turkey to encourage a Cyprus solution and said the dinner between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Akinci on Monday night was a “reason for optimism.”
Referring to an invitation that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu extended to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to visit Turkey, Kotzias said that Tsipras will be glad to come to Turkey and discuss all matters.