Greek PM Tsipras to meet with President Erdoğan on Turkey visit next week

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ANKARA
Published 31.01.2019 20:28
Updated 01.02.2019 15:50
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reacts as he attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, on January 28, 2019 (AFP Photo)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reacts as he attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, on January 28, 2019 (AFP Photo)

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will pay a two-day official visit to Turkey on Feb. 5-6, a Greek official said Thursday, with Turkish-Greek and EU-Turkish relations and the latest situation in Cyprus on the agenda.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited Tsipras, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in a press conference. He will be accompanied by Evangelos Apostolakis, former chief of staff of the Greek armed forces, who was appointed defense minister by Tsipras last month.

Following the meeting in capital Ankara Tuesday, Erdoğan and Tsipras will hold a joint press conference, which will be followed by a dinner in honor of the Greek leader, Tzanakopoulos said.

Tsipras is also scheduled to visit Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul Wednesday, the spokesman added.

The two countries had expressed their willingness to open a new page in bilateral relations during Erdoğan's historic visit to Athens in December 2017, the first in 65 years at the presidential level.

However, problematic issues such as Cyprus often hinder Ankara and Athens from reaching the desired potential in bilateral ties.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power. It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K. collapsing in 2017.

There is also a dispute over sharing gas fields in the Mediterranean. Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot Administration's unilateral drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.

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