Turkish president Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s closely watched official visit to Greece, beginning on Thursday, has attracted the attention of German media this week, with a dispatch circulated by Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Presse and Dresdner Neueste Nachrichte from Athens mostly revolving around the powerful Turkish leader’s purported attempt to re-approach the European Union.
Neighboring Greece, according to the assessment of the German report, offers Erdogan the opportunity of a “bridge” with the rest of the EU.
“After the harsh measures he took against his critics, Turkish President Erdogan has led his country into isolation – there’s no talk over a possible Turkish accession to the EU. Erdogan is now trying to build bridges,” the widely circulated article on the German-language Internet stressed.
Although Erdogan has previously visited Athens as the prime minister, this will be his first time in the country as the Turkish president, a post with significantly increased executive powers from the last time a Turkish head of state was in Athens – far-off 1952.
Beyond improved relations, the article refers to still unresolved problems, such as exclusive economic zones in maritime regions between the two neighbors – the Aegean, eastern Mediterranean – as well as the long-standing Cyprus division.
Additionally, the German report notes that some 1,000 Turkish nationals have fled the country to Greece in the wake of a round of mass arrests after a foiled coup in Turkey.