PM holds talks with Erdogan in Erzurum
Papandreou direct in address to conference
Prime ministers George Papandreou and Recep Tayyip Erdogan held two hours of private talks over a working breakfast in the northeast Anatolian city of Erzurum before they were joined by Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Dimitris Droutsas and Ahmet Davutoglu, respectively.
Papandreou was in Erzurum to address a Turkish ambassadors' conference, alongside Erdogan, following a formal invitation.
Diplomatic sources said that the talks between Erdogan and Papandreou focused mainly on the problems caused by Turkish military plane flights above the Aegean, while migration issues were touched on after the meeting was joined by Droutsas and Davutoglu.
They stressed that the meeting in Erzurum did not aim to make decisions on specific issues, such as that of the Aegean continental shelf that is currently being discussed in exploratory talks between the two sides, but to create a framework for promoting good relations between Greece and Turkey through the mechanisms already set up, such as the High-Level Cooperation Council whose next meeting will prepare for an upcoming visit by Davutoglu to Athens in March.
After the meeting, which lasted longer than initially planned, the two prime ministers were also due to inaugurate the Erzurum Stadium that will host the upcoming World University Games (Universiade), in which university athletic teams from 75 countries will compete.
Afterwards, Papandreou addressed the third annual Turkish ambassadors' conference, entitled "Visionary Diplomacy: Global and Regional Order from Turkey's Perspective".
The meeting, which will also be addressed by Erdogan, is chaired by Foreign Minister Davutoglu and attended by 180 Turkish diplomats serving abroad and at the country's foreign ministry. The week-long session opened in Ankara on Monday and continues in Erzurum.
The purpose of the conference is coordination of the ambassadors representing Turkey abroad, as well as an exchange of views between technocrats and the political authority.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday covered the gamut of Greek-Turkish relations, differences and whatever prospects for resolution, speaking during a closely watched address at a conference here of Turkey's top diplomats and leadership.
In opening his address in the northeastern Anatolia city of Erzurum, Papandreou referred to an opportunity to "speak frankly and openly about our future. Will this be a future of peace or confrontation?"
Papandreou referred directly to the challenges and day-to-day problems affecting bilateral relations, while he noted that his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has chosen to contribute to a new relationship of peace and cooperation.
"Nevertheless, trust is difficult to develop," he stressed, citing a provocation that occurred as late as Wednesday with the overflight of eight Turkish warplanes of "a small Greek isle (Agathonissi) with 150 inhabitants."
Conversely, he underlined that he doesn't believe "the actions of one day" can undermine the careful and systematic work conducted over years.
Moreover, he called on Erdogan, whom he referred to as a "reliable interlocutor", to consolidate the "trust between us and, in the end, to build a stable peace".
In further touching on bilateral relations, he said ties should not be left to chance or to fate.
"We need to consolidate rules in our relations; principles and international law, agreements and rule of law. That's why it's a dangerous luxury to not solve the continental shelf delineation issue. This difference marked the beginning of the Greek-Turkish confrontation in the early 1970s and continues to be a major problem in our bilateral relations," he said.
"Since 2002, with the exploratory contacts, we have attempted to ascertain whether there is common ground that could lead to an agreed to resolution ... We are obliged to make every effort at finding a mutually acceptable solution. If we don't achieve this within a reasonable amount of time, we must then seek recourse to international justice for a judgement based on international law. In the interim, steps must be taken to reduce tension," he added.
In reference to the long-standing Cyprus problem, Papandreou was equally succinct and direct.
"The time will come to have an open and substantive discussion between us over Turkey (EU's) candidacy. My vision has always been a Cyprus that will serve as a model for the peaceful and democratic cohabitation of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Christians and Muslims. Of course, the Cyprus issue never had as its basis religious dimensions.
"However, there should be no illusions. The international community will not legalise an invasion. Turkey's European course will not be completed as long as the occupation (of one-third of Cyprus by Turkey) continues. A new effort is needed," he said, while adding that Cyprus President Demetris Christofias is the leader that can produce a solution on the part of the Greek Cypriots.
- Register Now
- Modern Greek tragedy
- Court orders Greek broadcaster ERT back on air
- Community condemns ERT closure
- Abusive crackdown on migrants
- Outstanding Greek Australians honoured
- Memories of an Egyptian multicultural society
- Xenophon warns of data sweep danger
- The thief strikes back
- ERT's demise impacts SBS
- Pandazopoulos gets marching orders
- 10 Jun 2013 | 17 Votes
- 28 May 2013 | 17 Votes
- 22 May 2013 | 16 Votes
- 30 May 2013 | 12 Votes
- 11 Jun 2013 | 7 Votes
- 27 May 2013 | 7 Votes
More from this Section
- Greek journalist arrested in Iran
- Troika takes a ‘pause’ amid coalition concerns
- Troika raises doubts over property tax
- Coalition partners in last-ditch bid to mend gov’t rift
- Oz legal and medical minds honoured by Greek Ambassador
- Sell-off target will not be met
- Court orders Greek broadcaster ERT back on air
- Public servants jobs insecure
- Samaras dismisses talk of early election over ERT
- Thousands march for gay pride
Star of The Hangover trilogy Zach Galifianakis has announced he wants to make a movie about the Battle of Crete
The master of Greek cuisine in Australia, chef George Calombaris is returning to the small screen with the seventh season of MasterChef Australia
You do not live in Greece, but you've recently been informed you may be entitled to an inheritance in this country. What do you do? Attorney Christos Iliopoulos explains.
Year 11 student Maria Anamourlis has been elected as a Youth Parliamentarian in the Greek Parliament.
New PAOK coach Huub Stevens has called for unity among fans after taking charge of the Greek club whose players said they feared for their live
A Greek Australian invention makes caring for the elderly easier, just by wearing a watch
Visiting troika inspectors have expressed frustration over the delayed overhaul of Greece’s dysfunctional tax system
But Greek committee set to see another day
PAOK snatched the ticket for the Champions League qualifiers thanks to its 2-1 win at PAS Giannina and the goalless draw between Atromitos and Asteras Tripolis
As the election date approaches, poll, media and caucus pressure is making it almost impossible for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to carry on leading the ALP and government
Shakespeare's play Othello is set to take a Hellenic twist with a Greek Australian actor in the show as well as a stage set both in Venice and Cyprus.
Reporter Fragkiska Megaloudi has seen all corners of the world: from the devastation of war to the love of humanity
Seven Greek Australians received Queen's Birthday Honours List awards, celebrating their commitment to philanthropy and the community
Ballarat, Asia Minor and Lesvos - who would have thought they were connected.
Over two nights, the youngsters in Belmore United and Earlwood Wanderers sparred with Sydney FC players
The number of Victorian students taking up languages has fallen to new lows, according to figures from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Police suspect that members of guerrilla groups that are at large may be behind a recent blast claimed by the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, Kathimerini understands
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras unveiled a set of eight welfare measures, including families without incomes not having to pay any tax