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Greece and Turkey Foreign Ministers to Meet in Ankara

George Gerapetritis
The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs George Gerapetritis will meet his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan in Ankara on September 5. Credit: AMNA

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that minister George Gerapetritis will meet his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, in Ankara on September 5.

“The two Ministers will discuss issues related to bilateral relations, as well as regional developments,” the announcement read.

Following a meeting during the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July, the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan had agreed that both sides should build on the positive momentum and activate multiple channels of communication between the two countries in the near future.

The two state leaders had also agreed that the next meeting of the Greece-Turkey High-level Cooperation Council, which hasn’t met since 2016, will be held in Thessaloniki in the autumn. Mitsotakis and Erdogan instructed their foreign affair ministers, Gerapetritis and Fidan, to guide the process and brief them on its progress.

Cautious optimism for the improvement of Greece Turkey relations

Relations between Greece and Turkey have been especially thorny in recent years but started to improve since February 2023, when Greece dispatched assistance to Turkey in the wake of devastating earthquakes.

Earlier in August, the Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed optimism that a “great opportunity” now exists for the improvement of bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey.

In statements made during the Assembly of Turkish Ambassadors on August 7, Fidan said that Turkey aims to maintain positive relations with all countries in the region.

“Regarding the issues where we differ with our neighbor, Greece, we believe this positive climate presents a significant opportunity for resolution. We approach this matter with sincerity and hope for reciprocation from the Greek side,” the Turkish foreign minister stated.

However, Fidan reiterated the position of Turkey in claiming international recogntion for the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – the invaded and occupied northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.

Days after Fidan’s statements, the occupied north’s efforts to build a road between the mixed village of Pyla and Arsos sparked a confrontation with the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus’ buffer zone. The incident was condemned by the international community but defended by Erdogan, Cypriot media reported.

The Cyprus issue is among the boldest differences between Greece and Turkey, since northern Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974.

The buffer zone was established by the United Nations to avoid any further intercommunal tensions and hostilities while a peaceful resolution is being sought through mediated negotiations.

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