Turkey eager to continue spirit of cooperation with Syriza gov’t

Turkey eager to continue spirit of cooperation with Syriza gov’t

Turkey eager to continue spirit of cooperation with Syriza gov’t

Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras (C) is sworn in as Greek Prime Minister at the Presidential Palace in Athens on Jan. 26. AFP Photo

Turkey has voiced its eagerness to continue joint efforts with the newly elected Greek government for resolving any contentious issues between the two neighboring countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference after talks with Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu noted that a delegation from Ankara had met executives of Greece’s Syriza party during a visit to Athens in December, when he co-chaired a High-Level Strategic Council meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

“Turkey particularly wants to resume exploratory talks for lowering tension in the Aegean and finding solutions to existing problems,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“We want to work with Greece in taking steps both for resuming and accelerating [U.N.-led] talks [in Cyprus] and for lowering tension. We have seen that Syriza has the same understanding too,” he added.

Çavuşoğlu also underlined that Turkey is against the Greek Cypriot government’s unilateral exploitation of offshore energy reserves in the East Mediterranean before an agreement is reached on solving the decades-long division of the Mediterranean island.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, congratulated Syriza on its victory, while expressing Ankara’s willingness to strengthen bilateral relations with its Aegean neighbor regardless of who is in power.

“In relations between states, continuity is the basis. For us, improving and strengthening relations between Turkey and Greece is an issue of utmost priority,” Erdoğan told journalists as he returned from his four-day trip to African countries.

Elsewhere, the co-leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) sent a joint congratulatory message to the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“We believe that the principles of justice, equality and freedom that you have claimed will overcome the pressure imposed on the Greek people by the neo-liberal Troika,” said HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ in their message sent on Jan. 26.

Describing Syriza as a “sister party” as both the HDP and Greece’s new ruling party aspire for “equality and freedom for all oppressed peoples across the entire world,” Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ emphasized “the importance they attach to HDP-Syriza solidarity and strategic cooperation.”