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Erdoğan, Mitsotakis Hold Talks in US as Relations Thaw

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have convened in the United States on Sept. 20 to discuss various issues, including bilateral relations, climate change and migration challenges.

Accompanied by the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers, Hakan Fidan and Giorgos Gerapetritis, the leaders held discussions during the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly with the aim of fostering positive relations between the two neighboring nations.

During the meeting held at New York’s Turkish House, a new skyscraper across from the U.N. building, both Erdoğan and Mitsotakis expressed their commitment to preserving the current constructive atmosphere in Turkish-Greek relations, according to the statement released by Türkiye’s Communications Directorate.

Furthermore, the leaders confirmed a series of forthcoming engagements agreed upon during a Sept. 5 meeting of top diplomats in Ankara.

The scheduled interactions include a mid-October meeting of deputy foreign ministers for political dialogue, a round of confidence-building negotiations set for November and the Türkiye-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council meeting scheduled for Dec. 7 in Thessaloniki.

In addition to their focus on bilateral ties, Erdoğan and Mitsotakis also addressed regional and international matters. Particular attention was given to the increasingly prevalent challenges posed by natural disasters and the climate crisis in the Mediterranean region.

Migration, a common concern for both countries, was another pivotal topic on the agenda. The leaders committed to collaborative efforts to address the issue and directed their foreign ministers to continue their joint work and coordination on the agreed-upon roadmap.

Mitsotakis, speaking after the meeting, expressed optimism about the prospects for improved relations between the neighboring countries. “We agreed to continue working to deepen the positive climate in Greece-Türkiye relations that has been established in recent months,” he stated.

The Greek PM also underscored the importance of Türkiye’s cooperation in managing migration flows, emphasizing its essential role in minimizing the challenges posed by this shared issue.

Reflecting on the recent natural disasters and the climate crisis affecting both nations, Mitsotakis concluded, “I believe that this area of cooperation can be deepened and can be the subject of some specific agreements to be signed within the framework of the High-Level Cooperation Council meeting to be held in Thessaloniki.”

The talks followed a series of steps taken to improve relations between the two neighbors, which had been strained due to similar territorial disputes, disagreements over maritime boundaries and differing political ideologies.

The recent gestures began after a devastating earthquake struck southeastern Türkiye in February, resulting in the loss of over 50,000 lives. Greece was among the first countries to send rescue teams and offer aid to Türkiye following the tremors.

The two countries stepped up for solidarity once again over a tragic train crash in northern Greece that claimed the lives of 57 people as Ankara promptly offered condolences and aid.

Source: Hurriyet