Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Athens rather than Thessaloniki, as originally planned, on December 7, it was announced on Tuesday.
According to the Foreign Ministry, changing the location of the meeting, which will be held in the context of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council, was agreed upon by both sides. The reasons, Kathimerini understands, are “organizational.”
The December 7 meeting is expected to build on a recent thaw in relations between the two neighbors.
Mitsotakis: I disagree with Erdogan on Hamas
Speaking in an event at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin on Monday, Mitsotakis said that Greece and Turkey have “agreed on a roadmap for the normalization of our bilateral relations, in order to promote the positive agenda, and not allow the difficulties we have to result in a military confrontation.”
“We convinced Türkiye that its previous revisionist attitude towards Greece was extremely counterproductive, while in recent months our relations have been characterized by a détente,” he noted.
It is obvious, he underlined, that “I completely disagree with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on Hamas, but this is no reason not to welcome him to Greece in less than a month, when we will discuss our bilateral relations,” Mitsotakis highlighted.
Confidence-building measures in the Aegean
The meeting between the two leaders follows the resumption of talks on confidence-building measures (CBMs) between Greece and Turkey that took place on Monday in Ankara after a hiatus of more than three years.
Delegations from both countries’ defense ministries, as well as civilian officials, focused on crucial measures to be implemented in the Aegean region, which has long been a source of contention.
Among the key points addressed were the establishment of a safety distance between warships, the prevention of low-altitude flights by fighter jets over warships, and the avoidance of dangerous maneuvers by naval vessels.
The measures also aim to minimize long-duration and wide-area warning messages to sea and air traffic and underwater telexes for submarines, said daily Hürriyet.
Plans to create a direct communication line between the headquarters in Eskişehir and Larisa were also disclosed, with the objective of preventing misidentification of aircraft during flights and avoiding incidents between fighter jets, the paper wrote.
Mitsotakis-Erdogan to meet as bilateral relations enjoy a “thaw”
Relations between Greece and Turkey have improved since the beginning of the year after the deadly earthquake in Turkey.
Greece was among the first nations to offer assistance.
Since then the leaders of the two countries, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Tayyip Erdogan have met twice and reaffirmed their commitment to improving relations.
During their most recent meeting in September on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York the two leaders endorsed a roadmap that includes confidence-building measures in November, and the meeting of the Supreme Cooperation Council on December 7 in Thessaloniki.
After the meeting, Mitsotakis expressed optimism about the discussions, emphasizing the productive nature of their talks.
Erdogan expressed his positive expectations and hope, stating, “may our meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis be beneficial for our country and region.”
During a September meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis, the Turkish top diplomat said that Ankara has entered a new and positive era in its relations with Athens.
“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.