Greek-Turkish Relations: A Step Towards Reconciliation as Leaders Meet in Ankara

mitsotakis erdogan

Today Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will welcome Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Ankara, marking a significant development in the warming relations between the two NATO neighbors.

This meeting signifies a new phase in their relationship, following decades of tensions punctuated by brief periods of reconciliation. The visit comes after Erdogan's trip to Greece in December and is seen as an opportunity to address issues between the two countries.

In an interview with the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Erdogan emphasized the importance of resolving conflicts and promoting peaceful coexistence in the region. He expressed a desire to elevate bilateral relations to a new level and foster peace on both sides of the Aegean Sea. Despite recent positive steps, such as a declaration for friendly relations and cooperation, tensions have resurfaced due to the conversion of a former Byzantine church into a mosque by Turkey.

The conversion of the Kariye Orthodox church in Istanbul into a mosque has drawn criticism from Greece, with Mitsotakis expressing concern over the treatment of cultural heritage. He plans to address this issue during the upcoming talks with Erdogan, urging a reversal of the conversion. While acknowledging the need for dialogue, Mitsotakis aims to advocate for the preservation of cultural landmarks and seek peaceful solutions to existing tensions.

Although challenges persist, recent diplomatic efforts have led to some progress, such as the introduction of special visas for Turkish visitors to Greek islands and increased tourism from Turkey to Greece. Additionally, Erdogan's previous threats to de militaries the Greek islands have subsided, leading to a more stable environment for discussions on regional issues like illegally occupied Cyprus and migration.

Despite ongoing disagreements and complex dynamics, both countries are working towards fostering cooperation and addressing mutual concerns through dialogue and diplomacy.

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