Erdoğan's message on Greek Independence Day - "Our relationship with Greece will develop further"

turkey greece mitsotakis greek independence day erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on March 25, the day Greeks celebrate independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

In it, the President of Turkey, in addition to his wishes to the Prime Minister and the Greek people, expressed his thanks to the government and the Greek people for the solidarity they showed, after the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey.

"I am convinced that the relationship and cooperation between our countries will further develop with our joint efforts in the coming period," the Turkish president..

And he concluded: "I take this opportunity to repeat my best wishes both for your personal health and well-being and for the health and well-being of the Greek people."

Erdoğan's letter was preceded by that of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, to his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, in which he states that he is confident that the good neighborly relations that currently exist between Greece and Turkey will be consolidated in the future.

"I am confident that the good neighborly ties between our two countries will prevail in the period ahead. We are resolved in making further contributions to the current positive trend in our relations.

"Availing this opportunity, I would like to thank once again for the assistance and solidarity provided by your Government and the people of Greece after the devastating earthquake in Turkey.

"Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for your personal health and happiness as well as for the well-being and prosperity of the friendly people of Greece."


Along the same lines, the Turkish Foreign Minister declared that he is determined to further contribute to the positive dynamics of the bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey, which prevails now.

For his part, Nikos Dendias, in an interview with Proto Thema, explains what has changed in Greek-Turkish relations and emphasises that Athens, which has always said that it seeks dialogue under exactly from these conditions, it has to respond to such Turkish behaviour.

"The parametres of Turkish behaviour towards us have changed. Immediately after the tragedy of the earthquakes in Turkey and my visit there, Turkish criminality has turned into something non-existent.

"There are no violations in the Aegean, no overflights, no toxic language, no verbal aggression, no threat of violence. Greece has always said that it seeks dialogue under exactly these conditions. So we must, we have an obligation if you like, to respond to such Turkish behaviour," he emphasised.

Greek Independence Day

Each year on March 25, Greeks all over the world celebrate Greek Independence Day, which is a national holiday in Greece.

This is when Greeks remember their long struggle against the Ottoman Empire, an effort that eventually leads to Greece’s independence. Today, in fact, marks the beginning of the Greek War for Independence, not the end.

For hundreds of years, much of Greece had been taken over by the Ottoman Empire until the 1820’s when much of the country eventually overcame Turkish rule. Several factors contributed to the Turks coming to Greece, including the Byzantine Empire, which ruled for around 1100 years and then began to decline.

However, the Ottoman Empire’s push to Greece eventually began when they captured Constantinople in 1453. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire was taken, it was only a matter of time before much of Greece fell under Ottoman control.

The Ottoman Empire ruled for around four hundred years, and this wasn’t easy for the Greeks. Those who were unable to flee Greece and establish new lives in Western Europe suffered. Turkish reign was oppressive for many reasons.

Greek Independence Day, March 25

One problem was that they had an apparent disregard for Greece’s glorious past. At one point, they used the Parthenon to store munitions and didn’t treat it as the beautiful, historical landmark it really was.

Another problem was that Orthodox Christians weren’t able to express their faith in public. Since most of Greece is Orthodox, this caused a feeling of unease amongst the Greek people.

Those are just two examples of problems that arose between the Turks and the Greeks. Generally, because the Greeks felt oppressed, this caused unrest throughout occupied Greece. There were several resistance movements that formed through the duration of Turkish rule.

However, it wasn’t until March 25, 1821, that these movements posed any real threat to the Ottoman Empire.

In the Battle of Navarino, British, Russian, and French forces destroyed an Ottoman fleet. This battle was a major victory which eventually led to the signing of the Treaty of Erdine in 1829 which finally established an Independent Greek state.

Though what ensued was a period of uncertainty in Greece, the country was officially independent.

Today, cities throughout the world will celebrate. Throughout Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and beyond- Greeks will be holding their blue and white flag high with pride!

READ MORE: Haiti was the first country to recognise Greek independence.

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