Erdoğan: There is no issue between Türkiye, Greece that cannot be resolved


Dec 7, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


Speaking during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed in his comments that all issues between Türkiye and Greece can be resolved through constructive dialogue and good neighbourly relations within the framework of international law.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his one-day visit to Greece.

Erdoğan and Mitsotakis also co-chaired the 5th meeting of the Türkiye-Greece High Level Cooperation Council to review all aspects of bilateral relations, and to address steps to improve cooperation.

"No issue between
 Türkiye, and Greece cannot be resolved. We hope to resolve our issues via constructive dialogue, good neighbourly relations within the framework of international law," Erdoğan stressed in his comments during a joint press conference with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on Thursday.

Erdoğan noted the following in his speech:

"This was the first visit by a head of state from Türkiye to Greece in 65 years. I am pleased to be in Athens again on the occasion of the fifth meeting of the Türkiye-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council. We aim to further develop the existing positive momentum in our relations. The fact that we are holding the fifth meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council after seven years is a sign of our intention. I believe that we should not wait so long for the next meeting and, as expressed in the joint declaration, it would be beneficial for both countries to hold this meeting at least once a year.

I had beneficial discussions with President and Prime Minister Mitsotakis. In our bilateral meeting, we discussed the steps that could be taken to enhance our cooperation. We emphasized the importance of keeping our dialogue channels open at all levels within the framework of continuing high-level contacts. I highlighted the contribution of the Türkiye-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council mechanism, established during my prime ministership, to advancing our relations on a positive agenda. We reaffirmed our highest level of commitment to friendly relations and good neighborliness through the Athens Declaration. We are also pleased to see the concrete results of the joint action plan established in 2021.

We agreed to increase our current trade volume of approximately $5 billion to $10 billion. I pointed out the importance of transportation projects such as the construction of a second bridge at the Ipsala-Kipi Border Gate. Additionally, we aim to enhance our relations in the fields of tourism and culture. In our meetings with the Prime Minister, we exchanged views on our positions in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, and we requested our Foreign Ministers to handle these matters with determination. It is our sincere wish to resolve our existing problems through constructive dialogue, good neighbourliness, and joint efforts within the framework of international law.

We also discussed how we can further develop our cooperation in the fight against terrorism with the Prime Minister. We reiterated our expectations in this regard. We particularly welcomed the closure of the Lavrion camp. It was emphasized that caution should be exercised to prevent the emergence of similar camps in Greece providing shelter to terrorists. The Turkish minority in Greece and the Greek minority in our country are the cornerstones of our human and cultural richness. Improving the peace and welfare of minorities will positively affect our relations. I expressed our expectations for improvements in line with international law regarding the situation of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace. Resolving the Cyprus issue with a fair, permanent, and sustainable solution based on the realities on the island will be beneficial for the entire region.

We are two neighbouring countries that share the same sea, geography, climate, and even many aspects of the same culture. While disagreements can arise even between siblings, it is quite natural for differences of opinion to occur between neighbours. The issue is the will to resolve them. We want to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation. We desire to set an example to the whole world with joint steps we will take as Türkiye and Greece. I openly say that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved. We just need to act with goodwill, focus on the bigger picture, and not be among those who drown in the creek after crossing the river. I am also very pleased to see that Mr. Kyriakos shares the same opinion with us."

Türkiye and Greece have experienced a tumultuous relationship over the years. Although 2021 saw some improvements, several issues remain unresolved between the two neighbouring countries.

Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has protested repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent years, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under longstanding treaties, saying that such moves frustrate its good faith efforts toward peace.