Greece and Turkey signal 15 offers throughout ‘groundbreaking’ Erdoğan go to to Athens – Europe stay

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Greece and Turkey signal 15 offers throughout ‘groundbreaking’ Erdoğan go to to Athens – Europe stay

Greece and Turkey signal 15 offers in groundbreaking go to

Helena Smith

Along with the declaration on ‘good neighbourly relations’, 15 accords had been signed by ministers representing Greece and Turkey in Athens at this time, in an indication, say analysts, of simply how groundbreaking the Turkish president’s go to has been.

Amongst them was a 12-month visa programme that will enable the rising variety of Turkish vacationers to go to close by Greek islands all yr spherical with out having to use for permits.

“It’s a measure that brings our two peoples nearer,” stated Greece’s migration minister, Dimitris Kairidis.

He added:

It’s one thing that the opposite facet, which has shouldered such a burden within the administration of migration, wished very a lot.

Turkey at present hosts an estimated 4 million refugees and asylum seekers – largely from Syria – greater than every other nation.

The accord was agreed, the Greek minister stated, together with the European Fee.

Turkish residents presently don’t get pleasure from visa-free journey to the 27-nation EU.

Ever extra Turks have begun to vacation in Greece with many heading for Aegean isles near the Turkish coast. Kairidis stated that smaller isles with out common air or boat connections to Turkey had been included within the programme alongside extra standard locations similar to Rhodes. Ten Greek islands had been named within the accord.

A Turkish pleasure boat, aptly named Friendship, docked in Rhodes.
A Turkish pleasure boat, aptly named Friendship, docked in Rhodes. {Photograph}: Helena Smith/The Guardian

Key occasions

EU and China focus on stability in relationship

Talking in Beijing after talks with China’s management, European Council president, Charles Michel, informed reporters that “we have to make our commerce and financial relationship balanced and reciprocal”.

The EU expects China “to take extra concrete motion to enhance market entry and the funding setting for overseas firms”.

The European Fee president, Ursula von der Leyen, stated the EU and China have a “complicated relationship” which “deserves frank and open discussions”.

She added:

This was actually a summit of decisions. It was a chance to elucidate clearly our issues and our expectations to the Chinese language management. And naturally additionally to hunt progress in key areas of our bilateral relationship.

The fee chief additionally stated:

I’m glad that we agreed with President Xi that commerce needs to be balanced between the 2 of us. In fact we additionally mentioned the strategy of de-risk not decouple … Europe doesn’t need to decouple from China.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, second right, and the foreign minister, Wang Yi, third right, attend a meeting with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, second left, the European Council president, Charles Michel, third left, and the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, fourth left, during the 24th EU-China Summit in Beijing.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, second proper, and the overseas minister, Wang Yi, third proper, attend a gathering with the European Fee president, Ursula von der Leyen, second left, the European Council president, Charles Michel, third left, and the EU excessive consultant for overseas affairs and safety coverage, Josep Borrell, fourth left, throughout the twenty fourth EU-China Summit in Beijing. {Photograph}: Dario Pignatelli/European Council Press Service/AFP/Getty

Greece and Turkey signal declaration on good neighbourly relations

Greece and Turkey have signed a joint declaration at this time to pursue good neighbourly relations.

The transfer comes throughout a much-watched go to of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to Athens.

“Geography and historical past has dictated that we stay in the identical neighbourhood.. sometimes in confrontation. However I really feel a historic accountability to utilise this chance to deliver the 2 states side-by facet, simply as our borders are,” stated the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Reuters reported.

Erdoğan stated:

There isn’t a situation between us that’s unsolvable. As long as we concentrate on the image and don’t find yourself being like those that cross the ocean and drown within the river.

Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, shakes hands with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after their statements at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece.
Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, proper, shakes fingers with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after their statements at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece. {Photograph}: Michael Varaklas/AP

Ruth Michaelson

Ruth Michaelson

The go to to Athens by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, indicators the newest transfer of Turkish efforts at diplomacy which have seen Ankara quickly reestablish relations with former foes throughout the area, together with a profitable rapprochement with the United Arab Emirates and newfound pleasant relations with Saudi Arabia, amid efforts to quickly neglect the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

The Turkish president has even met with Egyptian president, Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, after saying he would by no means discuss to “somebody like him”.

“For those who look again on the previous two years, a whole lot of these shifts are about efforts to ease the tensions that Turkey discovered itself in, it’s not sustainable economically, diplomatically or politically and it’s limiting for Turkey,” stated Ziya Meral, a lecturer on diplomacy at Soas.

This journey is an expression of that easing, as the very last thing that Europe or Nato wants is an escalation between two members over essential sea routes, commerce or power. For the European Union, having Greece or Turkey working collectively on points like crime, narcotics, and safety is an efficient factor, as these are key areas.

Erdoğan’s go to to the Greek capital might present an important sign to Washington, amid pushback over a possible $20bn (£15.9m) sale of F16 fighter jets to Ankara, held up by lawmakers who expressed issues about Turkish overflights of Greek airspace in addition to Turkey’s human rights document.

“By easing relations with Greece, this understanding might give strategy to a breakthrough in sure areas the place specific congresspeople or senators leaning in direction of Greek pursuits would possibly alter their standing, which might result in some constructive outcomes by way of Turkish pursuits in Washington,” stated Meral.

Whereas Erdoğan promised the daybreak of a “new period,” on touchdown in Athens and efforts to double the 2 international locations’ commerce quantity to $10bn, observers stated his go to seems unlikely to heal deeper rifts over decades-long points together with the standing of Cyprus or border disputes. Even so, his talks with Greek counterpart, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, signalled a willingness to sort out some challenges collectively, significantly power exploration within the Mediterranean or commerce.

“Whereas this go to is a welcome transfer, wouldn’t it obtain a breakthrough on points at a lifeless finish, like Cyprus or the standing of Aegean islands, I don’t suppose it is a magical answer for any of those issues. But when belief is reestablished and there’s a great rapport between leaders and desirous to commerce extra, it’s fairly a great achievement – and it means one much less battle to observe,” stated Meral.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis are holding talks in Athens.

Catch up right here on why this go to has garnered a lot consideration.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) meets the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in Athens, Greece.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, meets the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in Athens, Greece. {Photograph}: Anadolu/Getty

Ten Cypriot nationals had been detained by police exterior the Turkish embassy in Athens this morning, Kathimerini stories. They’d unfolded a banner and chanted slogans towards the Turkish president’s go to.

Centre-left group says Orbán shouldn’t be allowed to ‘blackmail’ EU

Lisa O'Carroll

Lisa O’Carroll

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, can’t be allowed to “blackmail” the remainder of the EU by threatening to dam Ukraine membership talks until it releases withheld funds to Hungary, centre-left MEPs have stated.

“It is a make or break second for the EU,” stated Pedro Marques, vice chair of the Socialist and Democratic group within the European parliament.

“It’s a get up name for the leaders that we can not proceed permitting ourselves to be blackmailed by some authoritarian chief,” he added.

At a second by which the US Congress has simply outvoted a proposal by Joe Biden to proceed to assist Ukraine, we can not put ourselves in a state of affairs the place the Ukrainians see that we’re additionally not able to persevering with to help them.

It additionally not acceptable, from my viewpoint, that anybody will get the notion that on the finish of subsequent week, Orbán bought his approach and bought his €30bn in alternate for permitting the EU to proceed to help Ukraine.

He added: “It’s easy we can not commerce cash for values. It’s not acceptable.”

His warning forward of a scheduled assembly between French president Emmanuel Macron with Orbán in Paris over dinner tonight.

The French chief is anticipated to inform Orbán that to dam the opening of talks with Ukraine will undermine the EU’s technique to combat Vladimir Putin.

“It is a check of Europe’s strategic autonomy,” stated a diplomatic supply. Orbán’s dissent will ship a sign to Putin “but additionally to the Individuals”.

Marques stated the EU additionally must abandon its rule that choices on enlargement needs to be unanimous, one thing that’s supported by different member states.

“While you be a part of the EU it means you’re a democratic nation. I suppose we didn’t foresee that democracy may very well be corrupted from the within,” he stated.

Higher to see ‘glass half full’, Erdoğan tells Greek president

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

The primary assembly of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, seems to have gone effectively.

Greece’s public broadcaster, ERT, is reporting that Erdoğan informed the Greek head of state that his go to to Athens hailed the beginning of a brand new period between the 2 international locations, uneasy neighbours and historic Nato rivals.

“I consider this summit will likely be a chance for a brand new begin in relations between Greece and Turkey,” the chief was quoted as saying.

He added:

Ministers of the 2 international locations may have constructive conferences. We’ll focus on what steps we will tackle all points. Preparations have been made by ministers … I consider it is going to be higher for the way forward for either side to talk seeing the glass half full.

Sakellaropoulou stated that regardless of the variations that separate the 2 nations, it was important given unfolding occasions within the area to fix fences.

Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, right, and her Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece
Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, proper, and her Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, throughout their assembly on the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece. {Photograph}: Michael Varaklas/AP

Listed below are pictures from Athens at this time, as Erdoğan meets the Greek management.

The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, welcomes the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece.
The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, welcomes the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. on the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece. {Photograph}: Louiza Vradi/Reuters
Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, right, walk with her Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, before their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece.
Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, proper, walks together with her Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, earlier than their assembly on the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece. {Photograph}: Michael Varaklas/AP

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has met Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Ruth Michaelson

Ruth Michaelson

Wanting via the Turkish media, the headlines about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s go to to Athens at this time usually are not precisely on the entrance web page or homepage of each newspaper.

Even so, the profound shift in his language in direction of Greece will get a point out in a number of locations, notably TRT Haber, a division of a state owned channel, which quotes from a current interview Erdoğan gave to the Greek each day Kathimerini.

Beneath a headline that reads “Erdoğan: Greece will not be Turkey’s enemy,” is the point out that each are “invaluable members of an alliance,” in reference to Nato.

By no means thoughts, maybe, that the state-run information company Anadolu additionally quoted Erdoğan complaining that the US had offered F16 fighter jets and munitions to Greece whereas “though we paid for them, F16s usually are not given to us,” because the US weighs a $20bn (£15.9m) sale of the jets and munitions to Ankara that faces opposition in Congress.

“It doesn’t imply we now have to again down simply because america is doing this. We are going to go to our neighbouring nation, sit down, and discuss,” he stated.

Erdoğan’s repeated point out of a “new web page,” in relations and what he labelled the “win-win precept,” all sign a profound turnaround from a protracted interval of public barbs exchanged between him and Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, together with Erdoğan mentioning at one level that Turkish-made missiles might attain Athens “for those who don’t keep calm.”

TRT Haber now quotes him as saying that this was all merely a misunderstanding, including that at one level “Western media is making an attempt to distort my phrases.”

“We’re neighbours, we are going to stay neighbours, we should mutually respect one another’s rights and important pursuits. We present how embracing we’re once we lengthen our hand of friendship,” he stated.

Requested what he’ll say to Mitsotakis, a determine the place relations deteriorated to the purpose that Erdoğan as soon as stated “Mitsotakis not exists,” for him simply eighteen months in the past, the Turkish president is eager to point out that occasions have quickly modified.

“I’ll inform him this: Kiryakos, my buddy, until you threaten us, we don’t threaten you. Let’s strengthen the belief between the 2 international locations.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) lands in Athens International Airport in Athens, Greece on December 07, 2023. Greek Foreign Minister Yorgos Yerapetritis and Turkish Ambassador to Athens, Cagatay Erciyes (R) welcomed President Erdogan. (Photo by Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) lands in Athens Worldwide Airport in Athens, Greece on December 07, 2023. Greek International Minister Yorgos Yerapetritis and Turkish Ambassador to Athens, Cagatay Erciyes (R) welcomed President Erdogan. {Photograph}: Anadolu/Getty Photographs

Erdoğan arrives in Greece

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrived in Athens.

He’s escorted by an entourage so massive – a minimum of eight cupboard ministers are travelling with him – two different planes have additionally flown in with the presidential jet.

Erdogan will head straight to the presidential palace to be greeted by Greece’s head of state Katerina Sakellaropoulou, a decide by occupation who has not flinched up to now from expressing views when Turkey is perceived to have crossed ‘pink strains’ on nationwide points. He’ll then maintain talks with Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Because the bilateral is described as a ‘working’ go to and never an official tour – as was the case precisely six years in the past to the day when the Turkish strongman flew into Athens – formalities are anticipated to be stored to a minimal.

However safety measures are draconian – even metro stations have been closed till 6 PM – and the go to seems to be ready, some would say stage-managed, right down to the final element.

Greek officers say they’re braced for “each eventuality” together with the famously unpredictable Erdogan crossing a ‘pink line.’ The response, they are saying, goes to be: “Our variations shouldn’t produce crises.”

Erdoğan and Mitsotakis are slated to deal with the media round 1:30 – however won’t be accepting questions!

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lands in Athens International Airport in Athens, Greece on December 07, 2023. Greek Foreign Minister Yorgos Yerapetritis and Turkish Ambassador to Athens, Cagatay Erciyes welcomed President Erdogan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lands in Athens Worldwide Airport in Athens, Greece on December 07, 2023. Greek International Minister Yorgos Yerapetritis and Turkish Ambassador to Athens, Cagatay Erciyes welcomed President Erdogan. {Photograph}: Anadolu/Getty Photographs

Von der Leyen in China: ‘Variations’ should be addressed

Talking in Beijing on the EU-China summit, European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen stated at a gathering with Chinese language chief Xi Jinping and European Council president Charles Michel that the perimeters will focus on the way to rebalance the connection.

She stated:

How we will handle our relationship in addition to the numerous financial and geopolitical widespread pursuits we now have issues to each the European Union and China. As a result of it has a direct impression on the prosperity and safety of our individuals. At occasions, our pursuits coincide. When they don’t, we have to handle and responsibly handle the issues that we now have.

The fee chief additionally added:

We are going to focus on the way to rebalance our financial relationship. China is the EU’s most vital buying and selling accomplice. However there are clear imbalances and variations that we should handle. We each recognise the significance of de-risking and strengthening the resilience of our economies. That’s the reason the European Union is working to make sure the safety of its provide chains, essential infrastructure, and technological and industrial bases.

Forward of his go to to Greece, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken a conciliatory tone – whereas underscoring that disagreements will persist.

Talking after a cupboard assembly yesterday, he stated:

We’ve got had disagreements with Greece, and we are going to proceed to have them tomorrow. This doesn’t imply that we can not discover widespread floor as two international locations that share the identical seas.

The Turkish chief added:

Our aim is to enhance and strengthen our relationships and cooperation with the international locations of the area, beginning with our neighbors to respect our mutual pursuits.

Erdoğan plans ‘win-win’ strategy in Athens after previous feud

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will likely be arriving in Athens at this time for the primary time in six years, decided to maneuver on with a “win-win strategy” from the disputes and tensions left by his earlier journey to town.

The final time the Turkish chief visited the Greek capital – precisely six years in the past to the day – what had been billed a historic tour descended right into a verbal theatre of warfare as Erdoğan, allotting with diplomatic niceties, went on the offensive.

Inside an hour of stepping off the aircraft, he had: questioned the treaty delineating the borders between the 2 neighbours; raised the thorny query of war-split Cyprus; fulminated over the remedy of the Muslim minority in Thrace; and chastised the Greeks for his or her dealing with of Ottoman websites, a legacy of 400 years of Ottoman rule.

“We nonetheless haven’t forgotten it,” stated one well-placed diplomat. “It was as if he was a boxer within the ring, throwing punches from starting to finish.”

From then on, bilateral ties solely worsened, with the 2 Nato rivals almost going to warfare over disputed undersea power assets; Athens accusing its neighbour of “weaponising” migration and Ankara questioning the possession of outlying Greek islands.

Throughout Thursday’s go to – anticipated to final barely six hours – the famously unpredictable chief will put pugilism apart.

“We are going to go to Athens with a win-win strategy,” Erdoğan informed reporters aboard the presidential aircraft as he returned from the Cop28 local weather summit.

“There, we are going to focus on each our bilateral relations and Turkey-EU relations with a view to make choices worthy of the spirit of the brand new period.”

Learn the full story right here.

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