Greece’s Foreign Minister visits earthquake-stricken areas of Turkey

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Greece’s Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, visited earthquake-stricken areas of Turkey on Sunday, alongside his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

In joint statements to the media, Dendias expressed the Greek government’s deepest condolences for the tens of thousands of human lives lost in the two devastating earthquakes that struck the region on February 6.

Dendias reinforced that Greece will continue to “do everything it can to support Turkey at this difficult time, either bilaterally or in the framework of its participation in the European Union.”

The Greek Foreign Minister also expressed his pride for the Greek rescue workers that “helped Turkish society and the Turkish people in this difficult hour.”

For his part, Cavusoglu personally thanked Dendias, the Greek government and the Greek people for their solidarity and support.

The Turkish Foreign Minister also spoke about the superhuman efforts of the Greek aid mission and rescue team, as well as the visit of Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides, who accompanied the first wave of humanitarian aid from Greece.

“We saw and watched that after the rescue of each life, each person, it was not only the Greeks in the search-and-rescue teams that rejoiced, we saw that all Greeks rejoiced,” Cavusoglu said.

The Turkish Foreign Minister referenced a letter he wrote to TIME magazine as a private citizen during the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Greece in 1999.

“Back then, I said that we should not wait for another earthquake to improve our relations. I repeat this now, as Turkey’s foreign minister. We must make efforts to improve our relations,” Cavusoglu said.

Dendias fully endorsed Cavusoglu’s statement.

“I want to totally sign on to what Mevlut said: that we should not wait for natural disasters to improve our relations,” the Greek Foreign Minister said.

Dendias’ visit to earthquake-stricken parts of Turkey comes as the death toll from the quakes stood at 33,179 on Sunday and was certain to rise as search teams locate more bodies in the rubble.

According to Ekathimerini, a Greek couple were among the dead after their bodies were found on Friday beneath the rubble of their apartment building in the Turkish city of Antakya.

Authorities said more than 92,600 other people have been injured in the disaster.

READ MORE: Turkey backtracks to accept Cyprus’ offer of help in post-earthquake efforts.

Source: Ekathimerini and AP News.

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