During the joint press conference of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Maximos Hall both leaders focused on the bilateral issues concerning the two countries.
Mr. Tsipras squarely raised the issue of the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974 by Turkish forces.
“We are in a critical period,” said Alexis Tsipras and added that it is even more important at this time to broaden our channels of communication on the basis of mutual respect and without excuses. The Greek PM went on to express his bewilderment regarding the demands by Mr. Erdogan over the revision of the Lausanne Treaty.
“Is there a need for our relations to be modernized? Certainly, there is”, said Mr. Tsipras and talked about the necessity of creating relations between Athens and Ankara that would help to stabilise the entire region.
On his part, Mr. Erdogan said he felt exceptionally pleased to be in Greece and continued: “I believe that Turkey and Greece must believe that they have to focus on the glass being half-full and not half-empty. We must focus on this perception in our talks. In fact, our peoples have much in common, as long as we put aside those who have ideological obsessions.”
The Turkish President reiterated his provocative positions regarding the re-evaluation of the Lausanne Treaty, while he also complained about the fact that the Muslim religious head in the area of Ksanthi was chosen by the Greek state. He also called on the Greek justice to reconsider its decision to not extradite the 10 Turkish military officers to Turkey.
The meeting turned out to be quite “heated”, as the two leaders apparently only saw eye to eye on the objection of US President Donald Trumps decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Mr. Erdogan arrived earlier in Athens and his initial meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Presidential Palace caused some controversy, as the Turkish President disputed the Lausanne Treaty which settles a number of issues between the two countries.
Three Greek F-16s escorted the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he entered Greek airspace.
The Greek FM Nikos Kotzias welcomed the Turkish President at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport.
Mr. Erdogan is escorted by minister the Turkish General Chief of Staff, many journalists and, of course, his wife in this official visit to the Greece, the first for a Turkish President in 65 years.
The two-day visit will be full of meetings and talks regarding almost all the serious issues dividing the two countries and the Turkish President asked again for the deportation of the Turkish officers that have been given asylum by Greece.
On Friday he will go to Thrace to meet members of the Greek-Muslim community that resides there.
The Turkish president visited the Monument of the Unknown Soldier before meeting the Greek President Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos.