Greece and Turkey agree to reboot relations following landmark talks in Athens

Greece and Turkey on Thursday agreed to reboot their relations and usher in a new era of ties between the two NATO allies but historic foes.

In a landmark visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Athens, the two countries agreed to boost trade and establish communication channels between coastguards to tackle the issue of migration.

“About migration, we noted that there is a substantial reduction in flows during the last period,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“This is a result of the systematic guarding of the sea as well as the land borders. I would also add that this is a result of a much better cooperation between the police and the coastguard of both our countries. And this cooperation can be and has to improve even more.”

In a joint press conference with Mitsotakis, Erdogan said there was “no problem that couldn’t be resolved” between them.

“We want to make the Aegean Sea a sea of peace and cooperation. As Turkey and Greece, we seek to be an example to the whole world. I am speaking frankly: there is no problem between us that can not be solved.”

A significant agreement made during the talks is the joint declaration of friendly ties and good neighbourly relations, with which the two sides sealed their will for “calm waters” in the Aegean Sea, maintaining the peaceful atmosphere between Athens and Ankara during the last few months and more confidence-building measures between the two sides. 

But differences do remain – especially over Cyprus. Ankara favours a fair solution “based on the realities on the island,” implying a two-state solution. Athens meanwhile says the only solution is based on the reunification of the island based on the UN resolutions.

Other agreements include deals on trade, energy, education, agriculture, sports, technology and tourism. 

Mitsotakis said a “realistic target” over the next five years was for bilateral trade, which currently stands at over €5 billion, to increase to €10 billion.

Mitsotakis also said he had been invited to Ankara and that he intended to visit Turkey in the spring.

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