Greek FM hails improved relations with Türkiye

Greek FM hails improved relations with Türkiye

Greek FM hails improved relations with Türkiye

Greek Foreign Minister Yorgo Yerapetritis has lauded a burgeoning relationship with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, asserting that their personal relationship has paved the way for diplomatic breakthroughs, thus averting potential conflicts.

"We are trying to nurture a foundation of ties with Türkiye, anchored in respect and trust," Yerapetritis told state television ERT, emphasizing the significance of leveraging the existing disparities between the two nations.

"Our aspiration is to cultivate an enduring era of serenity in Turkish-Greek relations in recent months. Our aim is to foster an environment of tranquility in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean," he commented.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are scheduled to convene during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session in New York, with the Turkish-Greek High-Level Cooperation Council meeting slated for later this year, the minister informed.

Moreover, Yerapetritis disclosed pre-emptive preparations, noting an anticipated meeting with Fidan ahead of the U.S. summit.

During the interview, Yerapetritis reasserted Greece's unwavering stances on key matters, such as territorial waters, island disarmament, and island sovereignty, reinforcing their non-negotiable status.

"Our divergence with Türkiye is confined to delineating the continental shelf and economic exclusive zone boundaries in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean... It appears that arbitration may be necessary, potentially through either the Hague Court of Justice or the Court of Law of the Sea in Hamburg," he stated.

The Greek minister's remarks followed a sequence of conciliatory steps aimed at fortifying ties between the neighboring nations, marred by historical territorial disputes, discord over maritime frontiers and ideological disparities.

The current reconciliation efforts trace back to catastrophic twin earthquakes that jolted southeastern Türkiye in February, claiming over 50,000 lives.

Greece was among the first countries to send rescue teams and offer aid to Türkiye following the tremors. At that time, then-Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias paid a visit to Türkiye in a show of support. Dendias, a political moderate, moved to the Defense Ministry within Mitsotakis' new cabinet to oversee an ongoing rearmament program that has antagonized ties with Türkiye.

The two countries have stepped up for solidarity once again over a tragic train crash in northern Greece that claimed the lives of 57 people as Ankara promptly offered condolences and aid. Additionally, Türkiye allowed the transfer of a Greek prisoner to attend his son's funeral after the accident.