Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today in Ankara, in the fourth scheduled meeting between the two leaders in just a year. While no significant diplomatic developments are expected, Greece is always vigilant for any surprises from the Turkish leader.

According to TO VIMA, two low-level, yet significant, political agreements related to the countries’ cooperation on matters of civil protection and health will be signed. A third agreement to create a Greek-Turkish business forum may also be signed.

There are generally low expectations for today’s meeting, but Greece has still prepared itself with diplomatic responses to some of the ongoing issues between the two countries, in the event that there are deviations from the agenda, says TO VIMA.

The Greek Delegation and the Agenda

TO VIMA reports that the two leaders will be accompanied by their foreign ministers and diplomatic advisors.

Specifically, the Greek PM’s delegation will include Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis, the Director of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office, Ambassador Anna-Maria Boura, Permanent Representative to NATO Miltiadis Nicolaidis, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (EYP), Themistoklis Demiris, and two deputy ministers of foreign affairs, Alexandra Papadopoulou and Kostas Fragogiannis.

PM Mitsotakis is scheduled to arrive in Ankara at 2 p.m. on Monday and immediately head to the Presidential Complex for discussions with President Erdogan. Minister Gerapetritis and Ambassadors Boura and Nicolaidis will accompany the Greek leader to the high-level meeting.

The two leaders are expected to make a joint statement after the meeting and the visit will conclude with a dinner hosted by the Turkish President, followed by the departure of the Greek leader and his return to Athens.

Meanwhile, the other members of the Greek delegation will hold meetings with their counterparts. EYP Director Demiris has reportedly worked closely with his Turkish counterpart, Director of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) İbrahim Kalın, on migration and terrorism and they are expected to discuss the interrelated issues.

Potential Sources of Contention

Despite the fact that diplomatic relations between the two countries have improved dramatically over the past year, TO VIMA says that Athens is particularly “on alert” ahead of this meeting.

President Erdogan raised red flags with his provocative announcement that he will convert the historically significant Chora Monastery, located in Istanbul, into a Muslim mosque, just one week before the Ankara summit.

The Chora Monastery, originally built in the 4th century AD, is a UNESCO heritage site and is considered to be one of the world’s most historically significant Byzantine churches on account of its remarkable mosaics and frescos.

The announcement of the conversion of the monastery drew a strong negative reaction from Greece’s political leaders.

However, PM Mitsotakis has said that he will raise the issue with President Erdogan, but as an issue related to cultural heritage as opposed to a bilateral diplomatic issue, says TO VIMA.

Athens has also prepared itself for the potential of President Erdogan to raise other delicate topics that are “off” the agenda, such as the sharing of resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, the war in the Middle East, and the Muslim minority of Thrace.

The PM of Greece does not intend to talk about its designation of a marine park in the Aegean today in Ankara, as the touchy subject related to the demarcation of maritime zones is not on the agenda, according to TO VIMA.

Greece announced that it would establish a marine park in the Aegean during the recent Our Ocean conference in Athens last month, which irritated Ankara, on account of the ongoing dispute between the two countries over its borders.

Government sources speaking to TO VIMA on the matter said that “Greece, respecting International Law, and especially the Law of the Sea, and firmly based on the concept of sovereignty and Greece’s sovereign rights, will proceed with the creation of marine parks in accordance with environmental criteria.”

The Next Meeting

If all goes smoothly in Ankara today, the two leaders are expected to confirm the date of their next meeting. Most likely, it will be on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Washington this July, followed by the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, says TO VIMA