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Greece, Turkey Speak of ‘New and Positive Era’ in Ties

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Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis (left) with his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan. Credit: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Turkey has entered a new and positive era in its relations with Greece, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Tuesday at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis in Ankara.

“Ankara and Athens have differences of opinion in the Aegean and Mediterranean. The sides now must bring a new approach to solving their problems,” Fidan told reporters after holding talks with Gerapetritis addressing their string of decades-old disputes.

“We have agreed to maintain dialogue with Greece without preconditions,” Fidan said, stressing that Turkey is prepared to develop ties “on the basis of common interests in all areas.”

On his part, Gerapetritis spoke about “the climate of optimism” that allows for the de-escalation of tension between the two countries.

“We want relations to continue on the basis of cordial coexistence and tolerance with mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs,” added Gerapetritis.

And he continued: “Exogenous crises are becoming the norm, rather than the exception. This demonstrates the need for cooperation. Our mission is to resolve the cutting-edge issues between the two countries and to prevent tensions.”

Road map for Greece, Turkey relations

The Greek Foreign Minister revealed that Athens and Ankara agreed on a road map for this new positive era.

“The road map will include three levels. The level of the political dialogue, which will start on October 16, and will take place at the level of deputy ministers. Secondly, the discussions on confidence-building measures that will start soon. And thirdly, the issues of a positive agenda, such as tourism and the climate crisis.”

As he noted, “the pivotal point is the meeting of the two leaders in New York on September 18. And then, the convening after 7 years, of the Supreme Cooperation Council of Greece – Turkey, which will take place in Thessaloniki”.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the context of the UN Assembly in New York.

Gerapetritis said that he also discussed with his Turkish counterpart issues such as Cyprus, Turkey’s European perspective, immigration and the war in Ukraine.

In July Mitsotakis met Erdogan on the sidelines of a NATO summit. He said the meeting “was an opportunity for a restart in relations with Turkey following four difficult years.”

“It confirmed my view that Turkey appears to be ready for a change in direction in its foreign policy,” he said during an interview on Skai TV.

“This could only benefit Greece from such a change. Whenever needed, we defended our sovereignty and our sovereign rights, but it is better to live like friends,” Mitsotakis added.

Related: Turkey’s FM Highlights Opportunity to Improve Relations With Greece

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