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Greece says there is space for ‘relative optimism’ on relations with Turkiye

February 19, 2023 at 1:10 pm

Mehmet Gulluoglu (R), Turkiye’s Ambassador to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania greets Greek Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides (L) in Adana, Turkiye [Yusuf Koyun – Anadolu Agency]

Greece said Saturday that there is space for “relative optimism” on relations with Turkiye following a show of solidarity in the wake of massive earthquakes in southern Turkiye, Anadolu reports.

“The Greek state and society rushed to help the neighboring country and Turkiye’s reception of this assistance highlights the closeness of the two peoples and the unwavering commitment of our country to support the Turkish people whenever there is a need,” said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in an interview with the Ta Nea newspaper.

He said the Greek help is not associated with any geopolitical calculations and is purely on humanitarian considerations.

Arguing that there is a “change of tone” by Turkiye on Greece, Dendias said it allows for “relative optimism” in bilateral relations.

“We should not forget, however, that we are always in a complex regional environment,” he said.

Similarly, Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on Friday had said: “The reception of Greek aid and the Greek flag by Turkish society opens a window of opportunity to reduce the tension in the relations between the two people.

“We want to take advantage of this window of opportunity,” he said, noting that there could be a detente in bilateral relations.

On a more cautious note, however, Miltiadis admitted that essential differences remained in the two countries’ perspectives on matters of mutual concern.

At least 40,642 people have been killed by the two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Turkiye on Feb. 6, according to the latest figures.

The 7.7- and 7.6-magnitude quakes were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected.

They were also felt in other countries in the region, including Syria, where at least 5,840 people have been killed.

READ: Turkiye earthquake: Balloons left on ruins of nursery