Relations between Greece and Turkey can improve and certain differences can be settled through dialogue, without third-party interference, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Speaking at a press briefing on the flight back home from a visit to Berlin, Erdogan appeared optimistic about his upcoming trip to Athens next month, where he will be holding talks with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as part of ongoing efforts to normalize relations between the two neighbors.
“I am hoping we will begin a new process. We want to reduce our enemies and increase our friends and we hope that we can make this step,” he said, commenting on the planned talks in Athens.
“As two important and neighboring countries in the region, it is absolutely natural that we should have opposing interests. We can solve the differences of opinion on certain matters by giving priority to dialogue,” Erdogan said.
“If we take third countries that approach the issue with the logic of profit and the market out of the process, we will have no problem resolving them,” he added.
His comment came after he accused the West in a recent speech of being a “united structure of crusaders and imperialists.” He has also said that Hamas was not a terrorist organization but a liberation group fighting to protect Palestinian lands and people.
Greece and Turkey disagree on Hamas
Speaking in an event at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin earlier in November, 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.
In a joint press conference on Friday evening, German Chancellor Scholz stressed that Israel’s right to self-defense must “not be called into question,” whereas Erdogan continued his sharp criticism of Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, condemning “shooting hospitals [and] killing children.”
“This is precisely why our talks are important, especially in difficult moments we need direct dialogue with each other,” Scholz said.
The chancellor added that “Israel’s right to exist is irrefutable” for Germany.
“There is no place for antisemitism in our country, regardless of whether it is politically motivated or religious, whether it comes from the right or the left, whether it has grown here for centuries or comes into the country from outside,” he said.
Erdogan added that if Germany joined Turkey in calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, there is a chance it could be achieved.