Greek FM to Turkey: Stop threats
Greek Cypriot President Christofias (R) poses during his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos in Nicosia. AP photo
Greece’s new foreign minister has called on Turkey to stop its “threats and aggressive attitude” toward Greek Cyprus and to help in the island’s reunification, as he met with Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias yesterday during his first official foreign trip.
After the meeting, Avramopoulos said they had discussed the latest developments in Cyprus reunification talks and Greek Cyprus’ EU rotating presidency, energy issues and Turkey’s attitude toward Greek Cyprus. Greece is confident that Greek Cyprus will meet the demands of the EU rotating presidency, Avromopoulos said, adding that Athens would support the Greek Cypriot administration in the six-month-long period.
Avramopoulos is a close friend of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Their friendship goes back to the former’s time as Athens mayor (1994-2002), during which he tried to visit Erdoğan in prison but was unable to get authorization.
Avramopoulos also said Turkey should realize that Greek Cyprus’ EU membership and the discovery of natural gas off its southern coast could be opportunities to help the reunification efforts.
Avramopoulos made the comments in Nicosia after talks with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, on July 1, the day Greek Cyprus assumed the presidency. Turkey has already announced that it will not join meetings to be held by Greek Cyprus as term president. However, Ankara said relations would continue with other EU bodies, particularly the European Commission.