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Thursday, May 23, 2024

How Athens decodes the meeting with Erdogan

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Πoς αποκωδικ&omicron ποηανηννηερ τογaν

The government appreciates the meeting of Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Tayyip Erdoğan as another step on the road to rapprochement, in the wake of the four-four between the two leaders, the extended talks, but also the their statements to the press. A common denominator for the two leaders, as it was perceived, is that there are clear disagreements between the two countries, but there are also areas in which Greece and Turkey can cooperate.

On the carpet, according to government officials, issues of international interest were raised, such as developments in Ukraine and the Middle East, with the two leaders in their own meeting, which lasted almost an hour and a half, acknowledging the progress achieved in bilateral relations in recent months.

The same spirit was highlighted in the statements of the two leaders. Athens and Ankara have, as expected, remained firm in their positions on issues such as minorities – with the Turkish president speaking of a “Turkish minority” of Thrace and the Greek prime minister responding with the Lausanne Treaty's express provision for a religious minority – or for the monuments of cultural heritage, such as the Monastery of Chora, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressing the displeasure of Athens for its conversion into a Muslim mosque.

Expected for the Greek government was the highlighting of the different approach, which exists and has been recorded since the beginning of the war in the Middle East, regarding the role of Hamas, when Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks of a terrorist organization and Tayyip Erdogan of resistance, with the two leaders, however, to agree on the two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian issue and the need to protect civilians.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is what was NOT said publicly, especially by the Turkish president. In his statements, Tayyip Erdogan did not raise the issue of marine parks, nor the issue of demilitarization of islands, he did not raise the issue of sovereign rights, he did not even respond to what Kyriakos Mitsotakis mentioned about minorities, although he took the floor to emphasize his position on Hamas. Erdogan's choice not to “pick up the gauntlet” is also interpreted as a strategic choice by the Turkish president to keep a low profile in the next period, at least until the American elections.

Mitsotakis' visit to Ankara was a crucial “bet” for the government staff, obviously in terms of the essence of Greek-Turkish relations, but also in terms of the impact at home, as it took place at a sensitive time, in “heart” of the pre-election period for the polls of the European elections.

If the main issue was the maintenance of the recession in Greek-Turkish relations and the continuation of the mild climate at the level of statements, but also in practice, then the meeting Mitsotakis- Erdogan seems to have brought the main result, which the Greek delegation sought.

The presence of the heads of the secret services in the extended talks was characteristic, but also the invitation of the Turkish side to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to attend the dinner, which the Turkish President hosted for the Greek Prime Minister, in a move that is considered highly symbolic.< /p>

Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made the Greek intentions clear, sending a message, through his interview to the Turkish Milliet, that the channels of communication must remain open even in times of tension, he noted in his statements those fields in which Greece and Turkey have now manage to turn them into fields of cooperation.

Greece and Turkey signed two new agreements, the Cooperation Agreement in the Management of Disasters and Emergencies, which concerns the assistance between the two countries in emergency situations and the Cooperation Agreement in the field of Health and Medical Sciences, while the establishment of the Greek-Turkish Business Council was announced which was agreed upon during Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Athens last December.

The two leaders confirmed the agenda of their next meetings, which “lock” for the United Nations General Assembly next September in New York and probably also at the NATO Summit in July in Washington, while at the end of the year the next meeting in Turkey, of the Supreme Cooperation Council. At the same time, the “roadmap” for the next steps of the political dialogue, the contacts for the positive agenda, as well as the Confidence Building Measures, was ratified.

The visit of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Ankara was the first by a Greek Prime Minister. in the Turkish capital for the last five years, although Mr. Mitsotakis was in Istanbul in March 2022 and had lunch with the President of Turkey.

Since then a lot has happened, the main one being the adoption of the Declaration of Athens and the signing of 15 Memorandums of Cooperation between the two sides, during the meeting of the Supreme Council of Cooperation between Greece and Turkey last December in Athens.

Since then, as Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out in his statements , there are already measurable results, such as for example the implementation of visa facilitation for Turkish citizens in 10 islands of the Eastern Aegean, the almost zero criminality in the air, but also the better cooperation with the Turkish immigration authorities, which has led to an overall reduction of flows.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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