Greece's foreign minister said on Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit last week was a success.
Nikos Kotzias was speaking to journalists in a briefing after meeting Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan in Athens. "The visit was successful because we restored the necessary communication channels that were frozen. It was successful because a series of new negotiations are being prepared," Kotzias said.
President Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras talked "sincerely," he added. Kotzias also said Greek Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas would visit Turkey soon, adding that a High-Level Cooperation Council meeting between Turkey and Greece would be held in February.
Erdoğan paid a historic two-day visit to Greece on Dec. 7-8, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years. When he was there, Erdoğan did not hold back voicing some criticism, saying, "Muslims in [Greece's] Western Thrace have not even been allowed to choose their own mufti from their community; efforts to appoint a mufti are ongoing, but this is not the case for the [Greek minority in Turkey who can choose their own] patriarchate."
Greece has been drawing sharp criticism because of its treatment of the Turkish minority community within the country. The community of Western Thrace Turks is estimated to have between 100,000 and 150,000 members. The Greek government classifies its Turkish population as "Greek Muslims." Greek authorities prohibit the use of the word "Turkish" in organization names and several minority groups have been closed down for using the term. The Turkish-origin population of Western Thrace was not granted minority status in the Lausanne Treaty that was signed in 1923.