Greece and Turkey on Thursday agreed to reboot their relations, establishing a roadmap designed to usher in a new era of closer ties after years of friction between the two NATO allies.
This news comes after Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan made a landmark visit to Greece and met with a number of diplomats including Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
During his meeting with Mitsotakis, both leaders agreed to focus on pursuing good neighbourly relations, keep open channels of communication, seek military confidence-building measures to eliminate sources of tension, boost trade volumes and work on issues which have kept them apart, notably in the Aegean Sea.
According to Ekathimerini, the meeting of Mitsotakis and Erdogan went on longer than anticipated. Erdogan said he expected to receive Mitsotakis in Ankara.
“There is no issue between us that is unsolvable. So long as we focus on the big picture and don’t end up being like those who cross the sea and drown in the river,” Erdogan said after his meeting with Greece’s PM.
The Turkish leader added, “We want to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace. Through the joint steps we will take as Turkey and Greece, we want to be an example to the world.”
For his part, Mitsotakis said, “Greece and Turkey have to live in peace, find solutions [to their problems], and those that cannot be resolved, they should not lead to crises.”
“I feel a historical debt to bring the two countries close,” he continued.
The visit included the signing of the ‘Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighborliness’ and 15 other agreements to work on issues which have caused tensions, mainly in the Aegean Sea.
Mitsotakis also confirmed that Greece will revive a plan offering Turkish citizens seven-day visas to visit 10 Greek islands near Turkey and said that talks between the two sides will continue in numerous areas such as economic and cultural cooperation.