Greek Defence Minister Announces Turkey Visit to Ease Tensions

Greek Defence Minister Announces Turkey Visit to Ease Tensions

The Greek Minister for National Defence, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, has announced that he will visit Turkey next week in an effort to further ease tension between the two NATO members.

Panagiotopoulos will travel to areas affected by earthquakes in February with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in a move aimed at sending a symbolic message of support and cooperation.

The two countries have long-standing disputes over boundaries and drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, but an outpouring of support from Greece to help Turkey following the country's recent earthquakes has led to a de-escalation of tensions.

The two sides have resumed high-level meetings, including talks aimed at boosting trade and other cooperation.

“My counterpart suggested that I visit the earthquake-affected areas … The aim is to send a symbolic message,” Panagiotopoulos told Greek private television station Mega.

“A de-escalation of tension in the bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey is now evident. It is our country’s wish for this de-escalation to acquire permanent characteristics.”

Panagiotopoulos will visit Turkey on Tuesday and travel to the southern Hatay province, which was one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquakes.

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