The recently signed Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighborliness reflects the “firm political will” to deepen relations and confirm the friendship between Türkiye and Greece, said Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis on Saturday.
The Athens Declaration signed by the two countries on Dec. 7 is a substantial and highly symbolic text, Gerapetritis told daily Ta Nea in an interview, which was also posted on the Greek Foreign Ministry website.
Gerapetritis added that Türkiye and Greece will continue further cooperation in political dialogue, a positive agenda and confidence-building measures.
This cooperation will lead to the formation of a new roadmap for dialogue, he also said, adding that Athens wants to operate “wisely.”
Gerapetritis said both sides must cooperate to control irregular immigration and illegal trafficking.
Cooperation will also develop in terms of investments, he added, saying that a Greek business delegation will visit Istanbul in February 2024 about investment possibilities.
The main target is to ensure that existing disagreements do not cause tension, he said, pointing to a possible discussion, when the circumstances are right, on the delimitation of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a landmark visit to Greece on Dec. 7 after the neighboring countries have experienced a tumultuous relationship in recent years.
The two countries signed the declaration, in which they stressed that they are committed to fostering friendly relations, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and understanding, and seeking resolution to any dispute in line with international law.
They also announced that they would encourage the exchange of visits at every level with a result-oriented approach to promote a positive atmosphere and agenda.
The two countries also signed one agreement, seven memorandum of understanding (MoUs) and seven joint declarations covering different fields.
Türkiye and Greece have enough knowledge, experience and determination to amicably resolve their bilateral issues without any interference from any third party, Erdoğan said after the visit.
Erdoğan was in Athens for the first time since 2017 after a long period of tension marked by disputes over migration, energy exploration in the Aegean and territorial sovereignty. The visit marked the opening of a new chapter between the two neighbors.
The two leaders agreed on a roadmap for political dialogue, low-level fields of cooperation and confidence-building steps.
Greek and Turkish ministers also held a meeting of the High Cooperation Council, a bilateral body that last convened in 2016.
Relations between the neighbors have been strained for decades over several longstanding issues, particularly competing claims to jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, overlapping claims over their continental shelves, maritime boundaries, airspace, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus, the status of the islands in the Aegean Sea and migrants.
However, there has been a rapprochement in Turkish-Greek relations in recent months, encouraged by the goodwill and humanitarian assistance shown on both sides earlier this year when southeastern Türkiye was rocked by two deadly earthquakes and Greece suffered a tragic train incident.
Source: Daily Sabah