Çavuşoğlu on the visit of Dendias: "After the earthquake we opened a new page with Greece"

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Nikos Dendias Turkey earthquake February 12

The positive impact of the solidarity offered by Greece to Turkey after the 7.8 Richter earthquake was confirmed today by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who met with the Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Ankara.

Çavuşoğlu expressed his thanks to Israel for the support it offered. However, he also made a special mention of Greece.

"With the earthquake, we opened a new page with Greece," he said.

"Earthquake Diplomacy"

The turning of the page in the relations between the two countries began in the previous days, initially with the mission of the Emergency Disaster Response Team (EMAK) to assist in the rescue efforts through the debris, tons of humanitarian material.

However, this was strengthened by the visit of Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias to Antioch (Turkish: Hatay) on Sunday.

Dendias' visit was the one that put the "earthquake diplomacy" between Greece and Turkey back on track. Already, from the airport, the two foreign ministers had a warm embrace, while in their statements they showed that Athens and Ankara are possibly willing to move to a new phase of bilateral relations.

"We should not wait for an earthquake to improve our relations," Çavuşoğlu had stated.

"Thanked Nikos Dendias, Foreign Minister of Greece, for the support & solidarity of Greek state & people after the earthquake disaster. Greece was one of the first countries to offer aid to Turkey. In these difficult times, a neighbour extending a helping hand is a true neighbour," Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter.

"The presence of Nikos Dendias here today shows the support and solidarity of the Greek people towards the Turks," said Çavuşoğlu.

The Turkish Foreign Minister made special reference to the solidarity of Greece that was manifested immediately after the earthquake. "Greece was one of the first countries to contact the Turkish authorities immediately after the earthquake to wish them well and to state that they are ready to help."

"They immediately sent rescue crews and many aircraft with humanitarian aid to the earthquake-stricken areas, " he said, recalling the visit of the Minister of Civil Protection, Christos Stylianidis.

In his own tweet after the visit to Antioch, which was particularly affected by the devastating 7.8 Richter earthquake last Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, wrote that he agreed with his Turkish counterpart that "we do not need to wait for natural disasters to improve our relations."

He added: "Greece's effort to help Turkey does not stop here".

As he said, he has an order from the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, for Greece to do "everything it can to support Turkey, either bilaterally or in the context of its participation in the EU."

Death toll from earthquakes goes past 37,000. Turkish authorities say 31,643 people have been killed in the country, while more than 5,800 people are dead in Syria, according to the UN and the Syrian government.

More than 8,000 people have been pulled out alive from rubble in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, expressing his gratitude to all countries that came forward to provide support after the twin deadly earthquakes.

He also said a large number of over 81,000 people injured in the earthquakes have been discharged from hospitals, state-run Anadolu agency reported.

“I would like to thank once again to all the friendly and sisterly countries that have been collecting aid for our nation day and night, supporting our search and rescue efforts with their teams, and not forgetting us in their prayers,” Erdoğan added.

Turkey will never forget “the friendship you showed on this dark day,” he said.

Israeli airlines will resume direct flights to Turkey as a mark of a continued improvement in bilateral relations, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen has said.

The first such flight will depart on Thursday, Cohen told reporters during what he described as a solidarity visit to Turkey, which credited Israel for sending relief delegations after last week’s earthquake.

READ MORE: A different message from Turkish media to Greece: "Thank you so much, friend."