by Aggelos Skordas
Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be making an official visit to Athens in December. Kotzias made his remarks while delivering a press conference on Thursday when he briefed the press of his visit to Turkey earlier this week. The Turkish President’s visit comes in the wake of Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu’s statement that Greece is becoming a “safe haven” for the plotters that participated in last year’s coup attempt.
As he characteristically said, during a press conference with his Greek counterpart in Ankara on Tuesday, “we do not want Greece to become a safe haven for FETO [Fetullahist Terrorist Organisation]” and added that his country is “disappointed” after the Greek court ruled against extraditing eight Turkish army officers accused of involvement in the attempted coup on July 15th 2016. On his behalf the Greek Foreign Minister replied that the decisions on asylum seekers were made by the Greek judiciary and had to be respected even if “it does not please some”. It should be noted that up to date 995 Turkish nationals have requested asylum in Greece following the government’s “clearing operations” that saw thousands of public sector, education, security and armed force employees fired and jailed after being accused of alleged links to the network that organised the plot against Erdogan.
The head of the Greek diplomacy during his time in the Turkish capital delivered both to Cavusoglu and to the President of Turkey himself the invitation of his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos. While briefing members of the press, he confirmed that Erdogan has accepted the invitation.
Commenting on other diplomatic fronts, Kotzias estimated that in the near future there will be a series of developments. In particular, he referred to an “opportunity to resolve the so called Macedonia name dispute within the first half of 2018”. In addition, he also announced contacts at various levels with Albanian diplomats in order to resolve issues between the two countries, including the ones concerning the Greek minority of Albania and their properties.