Turkey’s Speaker of Parliament Binali Yildirim announced on Saturday that his country aims to “enhance friendship” and “reduce animosity” between Ankara and Athens.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul after the commemoration of a population exchange between Greece and Turkey after World War I, Yildirim said the two countries share a common history and culture despite on and off disputes in the Aegean Sea.
His remarks come ahead of a two-day visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Feb. 5-6. Tsipras will visit the cities of Ankara and Istanbul as part of his Turkish trip.
Yildirim added that Tsipras would be hosted with “Turkish hospitality.”
Tsipras is expected to be the first Greek leader to visit the former Christian Orthodox seminary of Halki located on one of the Princes’ Islands off the coast of Istanbul.