Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim in Athens on Monday morning, amid tension over Turkish military personnel seeking asylum in Greece. Hours before the visit, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that ‘Greece hosts ten terrorists.’
“Neighbors must support each in difficult times,” Tsipras told Yildirim and stressed among others “relations of cooperation and trust between Greece and Turkey could benefit both countries.”
“I look forward to the opportunity to face challenges in a constructive way in order to provide solutions, I am looking forward to the opportunity to approach the issues in a positive way,” Tsipras said.
Yildirim responded “We are neighbours, we share the same fate and we have to face the matters with calmness, deal with issues without prejudice or misunderstandings.”
the statements were made to reporters before the meeting.
Bilateral relations, the Cyprus issues, regional issues are on the agenda of the two prime ministers, but top on the agenda of the Turkish side is the extradition of Turkish soldiers who seek asylum in Greece after the failed coup a year ago. Greece’s Supreme Court rejected Ankara’s request to extradite them. A move that angered Turkey.
According to Turkish media, “Yıldırım is expected to convey a file to Tsipras including new evidence about the eight soldiers who fled to Greece after the coup attempt, in a bid to encourage the extradition of the soldiers.”
Hours before the Prime Minister left for Athens, the Turkish President lashed out at Greece but also Germany for granting asylum tho those fleeing the Turkish purge.
“Some are still hiding terrorists who escaped from Turkey . Greece and Germany,” Erdogan told private Haber 7 TV. “For example, there over 10 terrorists in Greece. Do you know what the Greeks are telling us? We cannot interfere with the justice system. Is such an absurdity possible?”
Binali Yildirim will also meet the President of Greek Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and then head for Komotini in Thrace where he will join the traditional Ramadan dinner Iftar together with the local Muslim community.