Τhe extremely positive climate in current Greek-Turkish relations is an opportunity to consolidate the rules of good neighborliness and create conditions of peace, security and stability in the region, "as Greece always wishes," National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told regional news outlets in the city of Kavala on Friday, it was reported on Saturday.
However, all this should be pursued in a context of respect for International Law and Greece's sovereign rights, he noted.
The minister's comments reflect on his visit to Türkiye on Tuesday after an invitation by his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar. The two ministers flew over disaster areas on a helicopter and visited a hospital and temporary accommodations housing people who lost their homes in the Feb. 6 earthquakes, with Akar expressing anew his condolences for the victims of Greeces' Feb. 28 Tempi train disaster.
Interviewed in Greek daily newspaper 'Ta Nea' after his visit to Türkiye, Panagiotopoulos said the possibility of reducing military drills in the Aegean was discussed, as was extending the Papoulias-Yilmaz memorandum in order to sustain the positive relations between the two countries.
On April 7, during Panagiotopoulos' visit to Türkiye, the Turkish defence minister told Anadolu News Agency that "in the upcoming period, we expect concrete positive developments on some issues such as the extension of the moratorium period, which foresees avoidance of exercises in the international waters and airspace of the Aegean Sea between June 15 and Sept. 15, when tourism is intense."
Underlining the significance of maintaining open channels of communication between the two countries, Akar told Anadolu that "it is our sincere wish that the Aegean and the Mediterranean will now truly become a sea of friendship by establishing a permanent cooperation environment."
On May 27 in 1988, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Karolos Papoulias and his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Athens, which established a moratorium on military drills during the vacation and holiday periods. This was followed by the agreement on 'Guidelines for the Prevention of Accidents & Incidents on the High Seas & International Airspace', signed on September 8, 1988, in Istanbul.