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Greek PM hails significant improvement in ties with Turkiye

July 10, 2024 at 8:22 pm

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s prime minister, speaks to members of the media during the NATO Summit in Washington, DC, US, on July 10, 2024 [Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Greece acknowledged, Tuesday, that relations with Turkiye have improved significantly since last year.

Speaking at a public debate with former US Ambassador, Daniel Speckhard, held at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that after three years of turbulent bilateral relations, things have improved between the two NATO allies.

Mitsotakis noted that, while some fundamental Turkish positions regarding the Eastern Mediterranean remain unchanged amid the warming of relations, “We are cooperating better in addressing irregular migration. We reached an agreement that allows Turkish citizens to travel to (some) Aegean islands through a visa facilitation scheme. These are among the positive steps.”

On ongoing tensions with North Macedonia, Mitsotakis said the country’s new government violates the 2018 Prespa Agreement.

“One of the fundamental, if not the most fundamental, aspects of this agreement had to do with the name North Macedonia being used erga omnes. And this is something that is very clear and non-negotiable for Greece. When I hear that the new government refers to the country as the Republic of Macedonia within the country, I have serious concerns,” he said.

“It is not constructive and does not help North Macedonia’s European path.”

On 28 June, the Greek Foreign Ministry accused North Macedonia of irredentism, saying its leadership is moving away from good neighbourly relations following a social media post by President Gordana Siljanovska in which she said she had met a delegation of ethnic Macedonians from “Aegean Macedonia”, in reference to Greece’s northern region of Macedonia.

The Prespa Agreement saw the renaming of Macedonia to North Macedonia and paved the way for its membership in NATO.

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