Turkey's Erdoğan urges strengthened trust between parties ahead of Greece visit

Turkish President Erdoğan emphasized the need for Greece and Turkey to strengthen trust and enhance cooperation on shared challenges while working to resolve their differences ahead of his visit to Athens.

Greek PM Mitsotakis (L) in 2022 meets Turkish President Erdoğan (R) in Turkey.


Greece and Turkey should reinforce trust and deepen cooperation on common challenges as they try to solve their differences, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 6 before a trip to Athens.

"There is no problem we cannot solve through dialogue on the basis of mutual goodwill," Erdoğan told Kathimerini newspaper in an interview, a day before the two countries' fifth High-level Cooperation Council (HCC) in Athens.

The neighbors and NATO allies have been at odds for decades over issues including where their continental shelves start and end, energy resources, overflights of the Aegean Sea, and ethnically split Cyprus. They reached the brink of war in the 1990s.

Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis agreed in July to resume talks and confidence-building measures as they hailed a new, "positive climate" in ties after more than a year of tensions over energy resources and defense issues.

Erdoğan, who is due to meet Mitsotakis on Dec. 7, said that Turkey was honestly trying to resolve its differences with Greece and that Greece had realized that Turkey would never reject an extended hand of friendship.

"I will tell him, Kyriakos, my friend, we do not threaten you if you do not threaten us," Erdoğan told Kathimerini, adding that Athens and Ankara could solve their problems without foreign intervention.

He said cooperation could be enhanced in sectors including the economy, transport, energy and migration, where Turkey needed the support of the European Union, and that the renewed electoral mandate both leaders received this year could help the two countries make constructive progress.