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4 “thorns” in Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting


We are not doomed to live with Turkey in a constant climate of tension, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius.

The Greek premier’s message was, however, addressed to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of their meeting on Wednesday. “Obviously we have significant differences with Turkey,” Mitsotakis said. “But we can agree that based on good neighborly relations and respect for international law we will draw a road map so that we can resolve the most important geopolitical difference which is the delimitation of the maritime zones, i.e. EEZ and continental shelf in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.”

If the most important difference (not the sole one?) for the Greek prime minister is the delimitation of the maritime zones, this is certainly not the case for the Turkish president.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes to today’s meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with at least four “non-negotiable” positions, Turkish journalists in Istanbul, who have been following Greek-Turkish relations for years, underlined in “Naftemporiki”. There are the following:

  • Demilitarization of islands in the Aegean
  • Non-negotiable “Blue Homeland” policy
  • Co-management in the Aegean
  • Two states in Cyprus

The tension in the relations between the two countries may have eased, especially after the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, but the “thorns” remain on the “road map.” A fact that will threaten the Greek-Turkish moratorium of the last months and will not facilitate the conduct of meaningful negotiations, analysts estimate.

Meanwhile, Erdogan is expected to get some promises from Europe regarding the extension of the EU’s free trade agreement with Turkey and likely the granting of visas for Turkish citizens who want to travel to Europe. However, the window of opportunity for better relations with Europe will not be open forever for the Turkish president.