Bilateral issues, migration and the Cyprus problem were high on the agenda during a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of the 73rd General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York.
During the meeting that lasted one hour, Tsipras accepted Erdogan’s invitation to visit Istanbul.
“Positive agenda is coming back in the Greek-Turkish relations, the atmosphere has improved since last July” government sources told media after the meeting.
It was the first meeting between the two leader after the release of the Greek soldiers in mid-August.
Tsipras and Erdogan reportedly discussed issues related to Greek-Turkish differences and the need to reduce tension.
Migration, security and terrorism, economic cooperation and the Cyprus issue were high on the agenda.
Citing a Greek government source, greeknewsonline writes that regarding the Cyprus issue, the Greek Prime Minister underlined Greece’s commitment to a just and viable solution on the basis of the resolutions of the Security Council. the UN and resuming of talks from where they stopped, on the basis of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ framework, as it was when the talks ended in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
At the same time, the prime minister stressed the need to resume bi-communal talks. Both leaders expressed support for the tripartite informal meeting of the guarantors at the level of the Foreign Ministry, which was due to take place soon.
The Greek government source added that “the Turkish president reiterated support for Guterres, something he had mentioned at his meeting with Tsipras in NATO, as well as the standing Turkish positions in the Cyprus issue.”
With regards to Greek-Turkish issues, Tsipras made reference to Erdogan of the need to respect international law and raised the issue of Turkish violations of Greece’s sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean Sea.
The two leaders agreed on the need to intensify efforts to reduce tension and to implement the relevant Confidence Building Measures.
They discussed the strengthening the co – operation for the implementation of the EU – Turkey Deal on Migration with a view to further reducing refugee flows as well as the need to enhance security against terrorism and dismantling human traffickers.
In the field of economic cooperation a target that was set was the activation of the sea traffic between Thessaloniki and Izmir before next summer, cooperation in tourism and other related issued.
Turkish President Erdogan raised again the issue of the * Turkish soldiers who fled ot Greece after the failed coup in 2016. Turkey has repeatedly requested their extradition, Greek courts have ruled against, asylum authorities have granted asylum so far to three of them.