In a significant diplomatic initiative, Turkish President Erdogan is set to visit Athens, aiming to mend historically strained relations with neighboring Greece. Teaming up with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leaders will oversee joint cabinet discussions, trade negotiations, and the signing of a new cooperation agreement to address longstanding disputes. As NATO allies, the nations aspire to rebuild trust and foster collaboration in the eastern Mediterranean.
Both recently re-elected leaders are placing a strong emphasis on economic concerns, with Greece recovering from a decade of financial turmoil and Turkey grappling with inflation and limited international investments. The goal is to identify common economic ground for mutual benefit.
Before his departure, Erdogan acknowledged existing differences but stressed the potential for immediate solutions and expanded cooperation, adopting a win-win approach.
The effort to improve relations with Greece is in line with Turkey’s broader strategy to mend ties with the European Union (EU) and other Western allies. Successful reconciliation with the EU hinges on Turkey’s active collaboration in combating illegal migration into Europe.
Bilateral meetings in Athens will involve ten members of Mitsotakis’ cabinet, with a primary focus on signing declarations and cooperation agreements. Of particular significance is an accord addressing migration, establishing communication channels between the coast guard agencies of both countries to tackle illegal migration routes into the EU.
The longstanding tensions between Greece and Turkey encompass disputes over maritime space and mineral rights. As EU-wide elections approach without major asylum reforms, the migration issue remains a political priority in Europe.
Despite the enduring conflicts, signs of improved cooperation are evident, with a notable reduction in illegal migrant arrivals on Greek islands attributed to enhanced coordination with Turkey’s coast guard. This diplomatic visit underscores concerted efforts to bridge gaps, ease tensions, and promote collaboration in the region.
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