Greek police announced a ban on protests in central Athens ahead of the Turkish President’s two –day visit to Athens, Thursday and Friday.
According to police authorities protest rallies and demonstrations are banned in Syntagma, Kolonaki, Lycabettus, Monastiraki, Acropolis, Koukaki, Pangrati and Neos Kosmos, as well as the zone along Katechaki Avenue, and the route from and to the airport. The ban will apply from 06:00 Thursday to 12:00 on Fri.
The tight security measures follow the recent arrest of Turkish militants who were arrested on terrorism charges and for planning to attack the Turkish President during his official visit.
Despite the police ban, two rallies are planned for Thursday to protest against the Turkish President’s visit: One by Kurds living in Greece who will gather in Omonia and one organised by the Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey which will include leftist and anarchist groups like “Rouvikonas”.
Meanwhile, Erdogan speaking to Greek media hours before his visit insisted that bad relations with Greece are a “thing of the past” and that both Turkey and Greece will forge new relations in the spirit of solidarity.
The Turkish PM also used the opportunity to demand Greece extradite the eight Turkish ex-soldiers that fled to Greece after the failed coup, even though their case is now being considered by Greek justice.
When quizzed about his recent questioning of the Lausanne treaty , Erdogan replied that all treaties required updating at some time, including the Lausanne Treaty. He noted that this process concerned Greece as much as Turkey, while clarifying that in the process of such an update “we can discuss everything, from A to Z.”
“Greece may be uncomfortable with some issues, with specific provisions, but we can sit down and talk about it,” he noted. According to Erdogan, updating the Lausanne Treaty could be mutually beneficial for both sides. Several crises might have been resolved, he said, if the two sides engaged in dialogue to discuss the issues, while he noted that security and friendship between the two countries could do more to strengthen their relations. He also referred to a need to “overcome any complications” and said that ships engaged in trade and tourism must be able to make their journeys undisturbed.
“In order to overcome the crisis we must come together and talk one more time… we can resolve our differences through dialogue,” Erdogan stated, adding that this was very important for the future of both countries.
He also pointed to the similiarities in the customs and traditions of the Greek and Turkish peoples, expressing his conviction that “we can find alternative ways to build a better future.”
Asked to describe what a possible solution for the Aegean might look like, Erdogan replied: “In the Aegean there are distances between the islands that are quite problematic and I consider that these problems can be easily overcome. We have issues concerning the limits of air space and sea borders.
“We must not be overly optimistic but we can make concessions,” he said.