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Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting with smiles: Optimism but not complacency with Ankara

Featured Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting with smiles: Optimism but not complacency with Ankara

The meeting of Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Tayyip Erdogan in New York confirmed the mutual will and effort to move the relations of the two countries into a new phase without the tension of the past.

This is the sixth meeting between the two leaders in the last four years, and for the first time, the awkwardness of previous meetings was absent from the smiles in front of the cameras, and the generally relaxed postures reflected in the most eloquent way the change in climate, which started in Vilnius.

The background to the Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting: What they agreed on

Government sources confirm that the good atmosphere remained even when the cameras were turned off and they estimate that there is a sincere desire on the part of Ankara to continue the de-escalation of tension and for the two countries to build on the positive agenda. However, this does not mean that Athens is complacent. "I have no doubt that we have difficult challenges ahead of us and I am never naive when it comes to the important challenges of foreign policy", as Kyriakos Mitsotakis put it, speaking shortly after the meeting with expatriate organizations.

Maritime zones, EEZ and continental shelf

Especially in the crucial and most essential difference regarding the definition of maritime zones, EEZ and continental shelf. The Greek side knows that time is required, intensive consultations and that there are no guarantees that there will necessarily be an agreement at the end of the journey. "It is a mistake to introduce tight timetables into an issue that has not been resolved in the last 40 years," as a government source put it addressing the Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting. A key condition is to restore trust and this can be built gradually. In this direction, it is estimated that the promotion of dialogue and the agreements that can be reached on issues of mutual interest and cooperation to address common challenges will help. High on this agenda is immigration, which was also discussed at yesterday's meeting, where according to information, Mr. Mitsotakis stressed to the Turkish president that "we must stop having boats in the water, because it leads to loss of human lives." In fact, according to sources, it is not excluded that the discussions between the two countries will lead to solutions "outside the box", as they noted.

A further step between Greece and Turkey after the first approach in Vilnius

Yesterday's meeting was characterized by associates of Mr. Mitsotakis as a further step after the first approach in Vilnius, with Turkey refraining from provocations and its well-known aggressive rhetoric. "The two countries have been consistent in recent months in what was agreed in Lithuania," as a government source pointed out. A milestone in this journey is considered the convening of the Supreme Cooperation Council, which was agreed to take place on December 7 in Thessaloniki. There it is very likely that a series of agreements prepared by the partners of the two leaders will be signed, especially on issues included in the positive agenda.

Mitsotakis' response to Erdogan's provocative statements on Cyprus

At the meeting, Mr. Mitsotakis raised the issue of Cyprus with the Turkish president and responded to the provocative statements he made from the United Nations platform. "My firm commitment to a solution to the Cyprus issue is full respect for the decisions of the United Nations Security Council. As far as Greece is concerned, any solution outside these parameters, any idea or any discussion of a two-state solution is simply unacceptable", as he said speaking to the expatriates.

"Greece will never shirk its responsibilities towards Cyprus", as government sources note, while the prime minister will refer to the Cyprus issue and in his speech today at the United Nations where he will emphasize the need for a new tripartite and special envoy of the United Nations Nations.