Athens played down concern at the news that US President Barack Obama intends to visit Turkey and not Greece in the near future, as Greek diplomats stepped up efforts to secure a meeting between the American leader and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

“Greece has no reason to follow the dead-end logic of out-and-out competition with other countries,” said government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros.

It has been traditional for US presidents who want to visit Ankara to hold meetings in Athens as well.

In response to Obama’s Turkey trip, Greek diplomats are now pushing for Obama to hold talks with Karamanlis at the sidelines of a NATO summit in April.

However, diplomatic sources indicated that even if the meeting does take place, it will not be as wide ranging or as substantial as the talks that Obama is likely to have with Turkish officials.

Athens is also concerned that the US president’s visit to Turkey will help elevate its status as a regional power.