The heads of state and government of Greece and Turkey, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, will meet on June 14, the foreign ministers of the two countries announced on Monday.
The two heads of state and government will meet on the sidelines of the NATO summit, said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Athens.
On the previous Monday, Mitsotakis welcomed Cavusoglu in the Maximos villa in a meeting that Greek government sources described as “warmly”.
According to the same sources, both sides have expressed willingness to promote a positive agenda.
Foreign Minister Dendias said the purpose of the meeting with his Turkish counterpart was “to be an attempt to achieve an initial understanding and, if possible, to gradually normalize the situation in the long term”.
Dendias said the discussion had covered all issues related to bilateral relations, as well as EU-Turkey relations, noting that both Greece and Turkey took on different and diametrically opposed positions on some very serious issues are aware of who they each represent.
In this context, a limited list of economic cooperation programs has been agreed, Dendias said. They also agreed on mutual recognition of Covid 19 certificates so that citizens of both countries who have been vaccinated or who have a negative test can visit the other.
Turkey again refers to the Turkish minority in Greece
The Greek Foreign Ministry responded strongly on Sunday to repeated statements by Cavusoglu referring to a “Turkish minority” during his Sunday visit to Thrace, accusing him of repeatedly distorting reality.
Cavusoglu, who arrived in Athens, visited a minority school early on Sunday, the grave of Sadik Ahmet, once a member of parliament and chairman of an openly pro-Turkish party, and the Turkish-backed muftis from the cities of Komotini and Xanthi, Greece does not recognize, have appointed others to that post.
Greece regards the minority in Thrace as religious and points out the diverse ethnic backgrounds of its members, while Turkey insists on designating them as an ethnic Turkish minority, in violation of the Lausanne Treaty, which the ministry obliges Turkey to undertake Implementation remembered.
The Turkish Foreign Minister made a number of tweets of dubious diplomatic sensitivity during his meetings:
– In #Greece to meet members of the Turkish minority in #WesternThrace and to discuss our bilateral relations.
– In #WesternThrace first met with Mufti @muftu_iserif from #Komotini and Mufti @muftu_ahmetmete from #Xanthi. The work of the Muftis contributes significantly to maintaining and strengthening the unity and solidarity of the Turkish minority.
– Visit of Celal Bayar High School, one of the two Turkish minority universities in #WesternThrace. Children of all ages from the Turkish minority who have an education in better conditions and in their mother tongue are important. You will continue to assist our relatives in solving these problems.
– Meeting with the members of the # WesternThrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board. Emphasizes that we will always work resolutely with the Turkish minority in their struggle for their rights, and reiterated our strong support. @bttadk
– Visit to #Komotini the grave of Dr. Sadık Ahmet, a true man of ideals who fought to protect the rights of the Turkish minority until his last breath. We greet all of our relatives who stand up for Sadık Ahmet’s cause.
Upon leaving Celal Bayar School, Cavusoglu had an impromptu question-and-answer session with Turkish media. Turkey was aware of the “struggles” of its ethnic minority in Greece and worked on them and discussed them with Greek government officials.
Here is the full statement from the Ministry’s spokesman, Alexandros Papaioannou:
“Greece, a state based on the rule of law, remains firmly committed to international law and the protection of human rights.
It fully implements the obligations of the Lausanne Treaty, which explicitly and clearly refers to the Muslim minority in Thrace.
The Muslim minority in Thrace has around 120,000 Greek residents.
Turkey’s constant attempts to distort this reality, as well as allegations of alleged failure to protect the rights of these citizens or alleged discrimination, are unfounded and are fully rejected.
Greece wants to improve relations with Turkey. Compliance with international law is a prerequisite.
We call on Turkey to respect these basic rules, including the Lausanne Treaty, which it has also signed and which it is obliged to implement. “
Cavusoglu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias will meet for an informal dinner on Sunday. Official meetings with Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will follow on Monday.