Erdoğan meets Greek premier in Istanbul
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Istanbul.
Mitsotakis first visited the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew yesterday, before being hosted at a lunch on at a presidential mansion on the banks of the Bosphorus.
Antonia Zervaki, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Athens, said the meeting will provide an opportunity to “bring the two countries closer together” after a fraught period in relations.
Mitsotakis has said, before the visit, that he was heading to Turkey in a “productive mood” and with “measured” expectations.
“As partners in NATO, we are called upon ...to try to keep our region away from any additional geopolitical crisis,” he told a cabinet meeting on March 9.
The Aegean Sea neighbors and NATO allies entered a dangerous stand-off in 2020 over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the waters off their coasts.
Mitsotakis then unveiled Greece’s most ambitious arms purchase program in decades and signed a defense agreement with France to Turkey’s consternation.
Senior Turkish officials continue to question Greek sovereignty over parts of the Aegean Sea, but last year, Ankara resumed bilateral talks with Athens.
Greece has also accused Turkey of allowing migrants to cross its land and sea borders despite a deal with the European Union to prevent illegal crossings, while Turkey and rights groups have documented Greek authorities’ practice of migrant “push backs” to Turkey.