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Greek media lauds PM's Turkey visit

ATHENS - Hürriyet Daily News | 10/11/2009 12:00:00 AM | CHRIS LOUTRADIS

Mainstream media in Greece laud the newly elected Prime Minister George Papandreou for choosing Turkey as his first overseas destination.

The mainstream media in Greece lauded the newly elected Prime Minister George Papandreou for choosing Turkey as his first overseas destination, suggesting a new era between the two nations has begun despite the diplomatic woes waiting to be solved.

“The Greeks have realized that Greece and Turkey should live in harmony because friendly relations is the only way to solve all the heated internal problems. The media just followed the society’s preference,” a Greek journalist, John Papadimitriou, told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The pro-government newspaper, Ta Nea, said Papandreou was in favor of dialogue between Ankara and Athens, but added that he would not accept what it called a “rubber check” from Turkey. The conservative newspaper Kathimerini said Papandreous’s meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would have “positive impacts,” and also drew attention to the Greek prime minister’s remarks in which he said the European Union should listen to the Turkish people.

While daily To Vima said the visit was the first sign that Papandreou's administration would follow more aggressive, but peaceful intentions in foreign policy, a leading political Web site Zougla said Papandreou has declared “a new era of diplomacy” just a few days after his election victory.

“Papandreou will continue his friendly approach toward Turkey like he pursued in the early 2000s with the efforts of late Turkish Foreign Minister İsmail Cem,” a leading professor of International Relations at the University of Panteion in Athens told the Daily News. “If he succeeds, the prime minister will move forward in solving all the issues between Greece and Turkey. In my opinion the main problem is the Cyprus issue, which should not bother neither Turkey nor Greece,” said the professor, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Another academic of international relations, Alexis Irakleidis, called for a discussion on different approaches regarding the Aegean problem between the two countries. “The Greek government should understand that President Barack Obama's foreign policy will not accept Greece as a good guy and Turkey as a bad one. We should sit down and discuss the situation in the Aegean.”

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