Athens, Ankara vow to warm up chilly relations
Foreign Minister Davutoğlu (R) and his counterpart Avramopoulos talk during a meeting in Athens. Greece and Turkey will restart the confidence-building process that has effectively ground to a halt over the last two years, says ministers. AA photoGreece and Turkey will hold a joint summit in January, attempting to restart the confidence-building process that has effectively ground to a halt over the last two years, the foreign ministers of the two countries said yesterday.
The second meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council will be held in January next year, in Turkey. “There is a common vision between the two countries. When we share this common vision, problems will be less important and will be solved more easily,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters after meeting his Greek counterpart Dimitris Avramopoulos in Athens. He said this common vision aimed to boost relations between the Turkish and Greek people and to prepare for a common future.
‘$10 bln target feasible’
“The High Level Cooperation Council will be another step forward for Greek-Turkish relations,” Avramopoulos said. “We agreed to have an open communication ... so incidents that could lead to tension can be dealt with immediately.”
Avramopoulos also noted that tourism exchanges between the two neighbors were flourishing, while Davutoğlu added that two-way trade had reached $4.1 billion and that a $10 billion target was feasible. Greek officials also raised the issue of illegal immigration with Davutoğlu, given that the bulk of scores of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers that daily cross into the country come through Turkey.
“Some steps have been taken but more needs to be done ... It is a problem that concerns all of Europe,” Avramopoulos said. On the issue of the crisis in Syria, Davutoğlu said: “As democratic countries, we provide support to the democratic demands of the peoples in Arab countries.”
Avramopoulos said Greece supported its NATO ally and called for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Davutoğlu also met separately with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Greek Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis yesterday.Meanwhile, the Turkish and Greek defense ministers have decided to set up a “hotline” in the scope of reaching each other immediately in the event of extraordinary situations. They were meeting on the sidelines of a NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday.
“Within the scope of contacting each other directly, finding solutions to misunderstandings, easing the nontrivial and preventing the dramatic situations that both countries’ peoples may face, we have decided to set up a direct telephone line between our two ministries,” Greek Defense Minister Panos Panayotopulos said after meeting with his Turkish counterpart İsmet Yılmaz.