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22ndannualcapital

Davutoglu visit turns downtown into fortress

The two-day talks between Turkey and Greece are considered part of confidence-building measures launched in 2010 to improve relations between the Aegean neighbors.

So far, the talks have resulted in the signing of around 50 accords on immigration, disaster response, tourism, health, transport, agriculture, immigration, culture and sport, but have yielded very little if any tangible results and no improvement in bilateral relations.

A Greek foreign ministry source said that several of these accords will be "re-evaluated" during Ahmet Davutoglu's visit.

The visit has been clouded by Turkey's intervention in the energy exploration race in the eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara is determined to search for oil and gas in the same area where the internationally recognized Cyprus government has licensed exploratory drilling in its exclusive economic zone.

Meanwhile, due to Davutoglu's visit, a prohibition of marches, protests and similar gatherings has been issued by the authorities, "for reasons of public safety". This will cause disruption in many downtown streets between 6 am Friday and 3 pm Saturday.

The Turkish PM's visit comes a few days before the 6th anniversary of the huge Athens riots, following the December 2008 murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a policeman in downtown Athens.

Every anniversary ever since has been marked by major, or minor incidents ranging from violent demonstrations to out-of-control looting. Police will have their hands full in the next four days.