Greece’s Prime Minister to Meet Turkish President For Warming Relations

Sun May 12 2024
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ANKARA, Turkey: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Monday, signaling a positive shift in relations between the two NATO neighbors.

This meeting comes after Erdogan’s visit to Greece in December and marks a new chapter in their historically tense relationship.

Despite longstanding disagreements over issues such as the island of Cyprus and migration, recent efforts have been made to foster goodwill between Greece and Turkey. A declaration signed in December emphasized the importance of friendly and neighborly relations, paving the way for diplomatic engagement.

However, recent tensions arose following Turkey’s decision to convert the former Kariye Orthodox church in Istanbul into a mosque. This move, coupled with previous conversions like that of Hagia Sophia, has sparked criticism and raised concerns about cultural heritage preservation.

Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis has expressed dismay over the conversion of Kariye Church and intends to address the issue during Monday’s talks with Erdogan. While calling for dialogue, Mitsotakis has emphasized the need to protect cultural patrimony.

Despite these challenges, recent diplomatic efforts have yielded some positive outcomes. Special visas for Turks to visit Greek islands near the Turkish coast have been introduced, leading to an increase in tourism. Moreover, Erdogan has refrained from making threats of military intervention in Greek islands, contributing to a more stable environment.

However, unresolved issues such as the Cyprus dispute and cooperation on migration continue to pose challenges. The seas surrounding Greece and Turkey remain routes for migrants attempting to reach Europe, underscoring the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

As Mitsotakis and Erdogan meet to discuss bilateral relations, there is hope for progress towards resolving longstanding disputes and promoting mutual understanding. While differences persist, diplomatic engagement remains essential for fostering stability and cooperation in the region.

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