Upon his return to Ankara from his official trip to Athens, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he wants to develop cooperation with Greece on nuclear energy.
Speaking to reporters on his flight back from Greece, where he met Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and several ministers, Erdogan said the meetings were held in a “very positive” atmosphere.
“We are trying to expand, develop this cooperation not just to energy, but all areas including nuclear energy,” Erdogan said, without elaborating, according to his office. “For example, we may provide an opportunity to Greece from the nuclear power plant we will build in Sinop.” He said Mitsotakis was “warm” to the idea.
Sinop, a Black Sea city, is where Turkey is planning to build its second power plant after Akkuyu, which is under construction on the Mediterranean coast.
Erdogan on “dogfights” with Greece and defense
The Turkish leader also referred to what he called “dogfights” over the Aegean, stating, “Let us turn this page, let us finish with this issue.”
He asserted that Greece’s spending for defense is very different from that of Turkey, while some countries, especially the European Union members and the United States, provided significant support.
“Greece does not have defense industry production like ours,” he noted. “In this sector, we have reached a point where we can produce at a level that meets our needs to a great degree. For this reason, Türkiye’s expenditures for armaments are incomparably lower than those of Greece.”
He stressed that tensions in the East Mediterranean adversely affect Turkey and Greece, “the most important countries in the region.”
For this reason, the Turkish President said that Greece and Turkey should try and see what the two countries can produce from now on and what opportunities they can create to benefit their countries. “I must say that Mr. Mitsotakis has a positive approach to this issue,” Erdogan underlined.
The Turkish President once again referred to a fair distribution of the region’s natural resources. “We are not scheming against anyone’s rights, but we are strongly committed to not allowing anyone to violate our rights.”
Erdogan said he believed that a comprehensive and just distribution is feasible in the East Mediterranean, while he reiterated his proposal for an international conference on such an issue.
Greece, Turkey sign Athens declaration
On Thursday, Mitsotakis and Erdogan signed a friendship declaration between Greece and Turkey in Athens in a symbolic move that confirms the warming of relations between the two nations.
The declaration commits both countries “to refrain from any statement, initiative, or act likely to undermine or discredit the letter and spirit of this Declaration or endanger the maintenance of peace and stability in their region.”
Turkey and Greece should work together for a better future, the Greek Prime Minister said during a joint press conference with Erdogan. “We must live in peace, [and] seek solutions to our differences,” he stated.
On his part, Erdogan said there is no issue between the two countries that cannot be resolved. “It is our hope to resolve our issues via constructive dialogue and good neighborly relations within the framework of international law,” he said.