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Greece’s PM Mitsotakis “Open to Positive Agenda” with Turkey

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Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaking at the EU-Med7 ministerial meeting. Credit: Greek PM’s Press Office

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that he is open to a positive agenda when he meets Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.

The two leaders will have a private meeting after the NATO Summit in Brussels.

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Speaking at the EU Mediterranean countries ministerial meeting (EU-Med7) held in Athens, Mitsotakis said that Greece is always open to a positive agenda with Turkey “but in a gradual, proportionate and reversible fashion.”

He also stressed that this was conditional to “the current de-escalation continuing and on Turkey participating in the dialogue in a constructive way, respecting the terms set by the EU, always in accordance with international law, including the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

Regarding the Cyprus issue, Mitsotakis again ruled out the possibility of any discussion of a two-state solution, “not only on the part of Cyprus or Greece as a guarantor country, but also by any member of the EU, as it violates the European acquis.”

Meeting between Mitsotakis and Turkey’s FM

In late May, Mitsotakis met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Athens, in a meeting described by Greek government sources as “cordial.”

According to the same sources, both sides expressed a willingness to promote a positive agenda.

Foreign Minister Dendias said that the purpose of the meeting with his Turkish counterpart “was to attempt a process of reaching an initial understanding and, if this becomes possible, to gradually normalize the situation in the long-term.”

Dendias said the discussion with Turkey’s top diplomat had covered all issues concerning bilateral relations, but also EU-Turkey relations, and noted that both Greece and Turkey are fully aware of the different and in some quite serious issues diametrically opposed positions they each advocate.

Calmer period for Greece-Turkey relations?

In this context, Dendias stated, a limited list of economic cooperation programs was agreed. They also agreed on the mutual recognition of Covid 19 certificates, so that the citizens of both countries who have been vaccinated or have a negative test can visit the other.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias expressed the belief last week that this summer will be a calmer period in relations between Greece and Turkey.

During a discussion at the 9th International Growth Conference, held in Patras, Dendias said that the calmer atmosphere was evident during his recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Athens.

“It was a completely different visit. But we should not be fooled by the fact that the climate was different,” Dendias warned, stressing that important differences do exist.

“(The meeting with Cavusoglu) was different because the differences between Greece and Turkey were clearly expressed in the public speech and were repeated in the context of this visit,” the Greek Foreign Minister said.

The visit came a month after Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias held talks in Ankara where Cavusoglu and his counterpart had a war of words at a joint press conference.

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