Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed their common will to improve Greek-Turkish relations during their joint statements after their meeting at Maximos Mansion.
Mitsotakis and Erdogan stressed the need to strengthen cooperation, while pointing out that Greek-Turkish relations are lately calmer, although they also mentioned the differences between the two countries.
“When the conditions are ripe, may be a rapprochement on delineating the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean”
Greece and Turkey must live in peace, articulate their differences and seek solutions, the prime minister noted, adding that he intends to visit Ankara in the spring, at the invitation of the Turkish President. “…We should make use of this opportunity to bring the two states side by side, as our borders are. Up until now, we have succeeded in returning our relations to calm waters. Today, in the name of the generations that follow, we have a duty to both build a future that allows a following wind to blow in these calm waters, a future of peace, progress and cooperation,” he said.
He also said that with the signing of the “Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighbourliness”, the two countries will gradually proceed to the next steps, expanding the positive agenda and Confidence Building Measures (CBM), as well as economic cooperation.
“We will intensify our economic cooperation, we will expand the confidence building measures and the next phase of political dialogue, when the conditions are ripe, may be a rapprochement on delineating the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean,” he said, noting that this was the sole difference that Greece considers can be settled through international arbitration, based on international law and the law of the sea.
“The goal of bilateral trade reaching 10 billion is realistic”
As he said, the road map adopted during their meeting in Vilnius included political dialogue, positive agenda and MoU. He described the climate of the talks as very productive and pointed out that “we are meeting for the third time in six months.”
“Today, at the High-Level Cooperation Council we are assessing the efforts that lead to new agreements at many levels,” he emphasized and spoke of strengthening of the economic relations, among other things. As he said, bilateral trade reaching 10 billion euros in the next 5 years is a realistic goal.
“Visa to Turkish citizens for 10 Greek islands all year round”
“In migration, a significant reduction in flows has been recorded as a result of effective border guarding and better cooperation between the authorities of the two countries,” Mitsotakis said. He referred to Greece’s firm support for Turkey’s European perspective, while he said that Greece supports the granting of visas so that Turkey’s new generation can develop closer relations with the EU.
He also said that approval was given by the EU Commission to allow Turkish nationals to visit 10 Greek islands for seven days throughout the year. As he said, this is an initiative with a strong message.
“We disagree on the Cyprus issue”
Mitsotakis pointed out that “we disagree on the Cyprus issue.” “For us, I say it clearly, there is no other solution than the decisions of the UN Security Council,” he stressed.
He added that “the dialogue should be restarted from where it was interrupted in 2017. Only through it can there be substantial progress.”
Erdogan: We want to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation
On his part, the Turkish president said, among other things, that “we are two countries that share the same sea, it is natural that there are problems between the two countries. The issue is that there is will to solve these problems.”
“We want to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation. We aspire to set an example to the world with the joint steps we will take as Turkey and Greece,” he noted.
Erdogan characterized the discussions he had with the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as beneficial. As he said, in the meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the next steps for the development of the cooperation between the two countries were discussed. “With the declaration of Athens, we confirmed our will for the development of our relations,” he added.
He also announced that in the meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis they agreed to increase the current bilateral trade volume to 10 billion dollars from 5 billion dollars. He added that “we wish to develop our relations in the tourism and cultural sector as well.”
Both leaders discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Erdogan said and welcomed the closure of the infamous Lavrion Camp near Athens.