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What does Athens expect from the meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan in New York?


Before Mitsotakis-Erdogan's meeting in New York, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis will meet with Turkey's Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan

The meeting between Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.

More specifically, Mitsotakis will be in New York from September 18 to September 20.

Greece has no illusions and is aware that – despite the progress that has been made recently – it is not easy to change the Turkish attitude from one day to the next. However, the goal is to maintain calmness and to put forward a positive agenda, i.e. to discuss issues that may bring the two countries closer (such as the economy, the environment, energy, etc.).

A meeting of the two leaders was preceded in July in Vilnius, Lithuania, where a restart in Greek-Turkish relations was attempted after a difficult period due to the stance of the neighboring country. This cycle of meetings will continue while the meeting of the Supreme Council of Cooperation will take place in Thessaloniki by the end of the year.

Before Mitsotakis-Erdogan’s meeting in New York, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis will meet with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, in Ankara to discuss issues related to bilateral relations as well as regional developments. In fact, it is considered likely that the migration issue will also be raised, as an increase in flows was observed during the summer.

What is Erdogan planning?

After his election victory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reduced the rhetoric of tension and seems to be seeking to close some fronts. However, especially on the issue of Cyprus, the Turkish side seems to stick to its known positions, despite the international reactions. This was also seen from a series of statements made after the unprecedented attack by Turkish Cypriots in the dead zone (in the area of Pyla) against the UN Cyprus Peacekeeping Force.

However, the Turkish President has been trying to improve his relations with the West over the last months, while unfolding his own agenda on a number of issues. As it became known, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will soon visit the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for possible talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin aiming at persuading Moscow to return to the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain.

Athens’ movements

In Athens, they are waiting to see how the Turkish side will move in the next period, while stressing that the country’s red lines are clear. Government officials noted that there is only one difference with Turkey: the demarcation of the maritime zones, EEZ and continental shelf, that is, in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. And they added that there will be no discussion about unilateral Turkish claims.

Meanwhile, a series of diplomatic moves are underway. Specifically, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is expected to Athens on Thursday, while on September 4 Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit Nicosia for the tripartite meeting of Greece, Cyprus and Israel.