The meeting in Athens between the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  ended in Athens beyond the pre-scheduled time. Addressing the press in a joint briefing, Mitsotakis said: “It is extremely important that in recent months the two countries are moving towards a more peaceful path. The two countries must live peacefully, discuss their differences sincerely, and find solutions.”

Recalling the steps taken since the meeting of the two leaders in Vilnius, Mitsotakis spoke of a productive climate. “We are meeting for the third time in the last six months,” recalling the progress made in trade, education, and economic relations.”

“There is no solution for the Cyprus issue other than the decisions of the United Nations,” he emphasized, calling for the resumption of dialogue on the Cyprus issue from where it had stopped.

“Today, 100 years after the Treaty of Lausanne, a treaty of peace and friendship is being signed, a treaty that fully respects the rights of each country and highlights the potential for cooperation on an international and regional level. We will continue the positive steps, and expand the agenda. The next phase of political dialogue, when conditions mature, may involve delimitating the EEZ … and resolving the issue of the continental shelf, which is the only difference recognized by Greece,” Mitsotakis said.

“I intend to visit Ankara. Circumstances have often pitted us against each other. And I am sure some voices do not agree with this approach. But we must seize the opportunity,” he said, adding: “we must build a future where a new wind will blow in these calm waters.”

For his part, the Turkish President said: “I last visited Greece in 2017. I am pleased to be in Athens again. I would like to thank you for the warm welcome to me and my delegation. The atmosphere after seven years is a sign of this intention. I believe we will not have such a long break to have this meeting at least once a year, and I think it would be good for both countries,” Erdoğan said.

“We agreed to keep communication channels open. We are pleased to see the results of joint projects since 2021. We agreed with Mr. Mitsotakis to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion from the current five billion. We want to develop our relations in the tourism and cultural sector. We exchanged views on our stance in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, and we asked the foreign ministers to discuss it.

At the same time, Erdogan twice referred to the Muslim minority in Thrace province, in northeast Greece, as a “Turkish” minority, in his statements.

The Greek PM, when in turn he spoke, reminded that “the region of Thrace serves as an example of harmonious co-existence between Christians and Muslims. We want to ensure equal opportunities in practice. The identification of the minority as Muslim is determined by the Treaty of Lausanne”.