Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis are set to lead the fifth High-Level Cooperation Council meeting between Turkey and Greece today, with an agenda focused on improving bilateral cooperation and addressing regional issues. The meeting, taking place in Athens, will see the signing of various agreements and memoranda aimed at strengthening the contractual basis of relations between the two countries.
Historical Tensions and Recent Improvements
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have had turbulent relations in the past, including disagreements over the demilitarization of islands and Greek military activities. Despite some improvements in 2021, unresolved issues persist. Turkey, a long-standing NATO member, has voiced its objections to what it perceives as Greek provocations and island armament, which it considers a hindrance to peace efforts.
A New Chapter in Bilateral Relations
Both nations are eager to demonstrate their willingness to mend ties. This sentiment has been amplified by Greece's aid to Turkey following a devastating earthquake in February. The re-elections of both Erdogan and Mitsotakis this year have also eased political pressure, allowing them to put their rivalry aside. The meetings are expected to yield a joint declaration and agreements in sectors such as economy, health, education, agriculture, migration, and tourism.
Addressing Key Issues
Today's high-level talks between Erdogan and Mitsotakis will touch upon a range of critical issues, including maritime zones and refugee flows. The two NATO neighbours are likely to agree on cooperative measures to limit migration flow to Greece via Turkey. The focus will be on economic cooperation and addressing issues like migration with a 'win-win' approach, aimed at improving ties with the European Union. Amidst a growth spurt after a decade of financial turmoil, Greece, and Turkey, grappling with crippling inflation and dwindling international investments, are seeking common economic ground that could mutually benefit both countries.
Analysts believe that better ties with Greece will also be key to repairing Turkey’s strained relationships with the European Union and other western allies. The United States views this visit as a 'positive step' that reinforces ongoing efforts to improve relations between the two countries.