Turkish Prime Minister to visit Athens to tighten co-operation

Turkish Prime Minister to visit Athens to tighten co-operation

Contrary to what is recorded in daily Greek domestic news about tensions in Turkey’s relations with Turkey, the visit by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim marks Turkey’s bid for continued co-operation between the two countries.

Even though the Cyprus issue is at the forefront of the talks which will take place between Alexis Tsipras and Binali Yildirim, which confirms the Turkish Foreign Minister’s, Mevlut Cavusoglu’s, participation, transport, energy, telecommunications, will also be on the table of discussions.

Knowing which Ministers will follow Binali Yildirim on his visit, the intention of the Turkish side to develop its synergies and co-operation with Greece seems to be evident. According to IBNA’s exclusive information, besides Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Prime Minister will be accompanied by Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, Minister of Labor and Social Security Mehmet Mézzinoğlu and Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan.

As is clear from the two-hour scheduled talks to be held at 10:30 am at the Maximos Mansion between Tsipras and Yildirim as well as the bilateral talks between the Ministers, the enlarged meeting between the two delegations will be followed by an extensive reference to the progress made in the agreements signed on March 8, 2016, in the framework of the 4th Senior Cooperation Session between Greece and Turkey held in Izmir and the preparation of the 5th Session to be held in October  in Thessaloniki.

The Cypriot issue is high on the agenda and will be discussed both by the two Prime Minister’s as well as by Foreign Minister’s Nikos Kotzias and Mevlut Cavusoglu. The aim is to converge and prepare the text that Espen Barth Eide will present to the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) and pave the way for the resumption of the talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on June 28. Regional developments, Syria, the Gulf crisis, the refugee crisis, Euro-Turkish relations and, of course, bilateral relations will also be discussed.

On the issue of energy, transport and communication, the talks between the ministers will form the agenda for the forthcoming 5th Summit of Cooperation between the two countries in Thessaloniki, following discussions in Izmir.

According to the schedule there will be a joint press conference between the two Prime Minister’s to the media  around 13:00 and then Binali Yildirim will hold a ceremonial visit to the Presidential Palace where he will meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

A meeting with the main opposition leader and President of the New Democracy Party Kyriakos Mitsotakis will follow at a central Athens hotel.

Around 16:00pm the Turkish Prime Minister will depart for the city of Alexandroupolis with the Prime Minister’s plane and from there he will drive to Komotini where he will participate in the religious Iftar. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib time, which is around sunset. The Turkish Prime Minister may also be accompanied by his wife, according to unconfirmed IBNA information.

Binali Yildirim will return to Turkey via Alexandroupolis./IBNA