Turkey’s Erdogan, Greek PM stress maintaining positive momentum in ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at a joint press conference in Ankara, Türkiye, on May 13, 2024. (Mustafa Kaya/Handout via Xinhua)

By Xinhua News Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday underscored the significance of maintaining the recent positive trajectory in bilateral relations, despite longstanding disputes.

In a joint press conference in Ankara, Erdogan emphasized the importance of dialogue. “Despite the differences, we focus on the positive agenda by keeping our dialogue channels open,” he stated.

The Turkish president said that the two sides held a constructive dialogue, addressing issues in Türkiye-Greece relations, and agreed to aim for a bilateral trade volume of 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Erdogan expressed hope that the improved relations would positively impact the rights of the Turkish minority in Greece. He also stressed the necessity of a “fair and permanent solution” to the Cyprus issue, based on the island’s realities, to enhance regional stability and peace.

Regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, Erdogan diverged from Mitsotakis, stating, “I do not see Hamas as a terrorist organization. Hamas is a resistance group that protects its lands.”

Mitsotakis acknowledged the ongoing development of bilateral cooperation, stating the mutual understanding between the two sides and relations are evolving positively. He also reaffirmed Greece’s support for Türkiye’s European Union accession process.

Mitsotakis noted a divergence in perspectives on the Gaza issue. “We know that Türkiye accepts Hamas, which we consider a terrorist group, in a different way,” he said, noting that Greece also agrees that civilians must be protected.