Greece expects calmer relations with Turkey, foreign minister says

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Thursday that a recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was held in a calmer atmosphere than on previous occasions.

“It was a completely different visit. But we should not be fooled by the fact that the climate was different,” Dendias said, adding that important differences remain between the two countries, according to the Greek Reporter.

Çavusoğlu travelled to Athens on Monday for talks with Dendias and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

At a televised press conference following their meeting, both foreign ministers said they were seeking better relations between their countries and had agreed mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates, as well as a series of economic cooperation programmes.

Speaking on Thursday, Dendias said Turkey had recognised the need to respect international norms.

“Turkey understood most clearly that regardless of whether there are disagreements or whether there are completely different approaches, it must operate in a context that does not provoke Greece and does not violate international law,” the Greek Reporter cited the Greek Foreign Minister as saying.

“Manifestation of delinquency is not beneficial for Turkey either and leads nowhere but to the aggravation of our relations,” he added.

In relation to Cyprus, Dendias said Turkey’s historic military intervention on the island had made its future even more difficult to solve.

“We are far behind anything that would allow a hope for a solution to the Cyprus problem,” Dendias said. “Unfortunately, the Turkish presence in Geneva a few weeks ago has brought us to the worst point from 1974 until today.”

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Numerous diplomatic efforts have failed to resolve the conflict, which has seen Cyprus divided into two seperate administrations.

In April, United Nations-backed talks in Geneva failed to find common ground between the two sides for a return to formal negotiations.

Since his election in October, Ersin Tatar, president of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), has increasingly called for equal recognition of his administration. He has been backed in this stance by Turkey, the only country to formally recognise the TRNC.

“This is the first time that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side came and questioned the international framework for a Cyprus solution,” Dendias said.  “Geneva was many steps backwards.”

Ahval

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