For just over two hours, Alexis Tsipras and Binali Yildirim met privately at the Prime Minister’s office. According to IBNA sources on both sides, talks were held in a very positive atmosphere, characterized by honesty and immediacy, as the Turkish Prime Minister pointed out at the joint press conference with the Greek premier.
The private talks focused mainly on the Cyprus issue, the Aegean, immigration and Euro-Turkish relations.
According to IBNA sources, the two Prime Ministers discussed all aspects of the Cyprus issue in an effort to bridge the major differences over guarantees and security. As stated by Binali Yildirim at the press conference, even greater efforts have to be made to resolve the Cyprus problem.
Alexis Tsipras noted that he described to his Turkish counterpart the Greek perspective with regards to the Cyprus problem, for a solution based on the decisions of the United Nations, within the framework of the European acquis, which will allow the reunited Cyprus to guarantee the security of all its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, on modern terms, without the need of third parties.
The Turkish Prime Minister said that the EU should provide the necessary guarantees to make the solution to the Cyprus problem viable.
The Greek Prime Minister emphatically indicated to his counterpart, according to information confirmed by IBNA, the issue of Turkish violations with detailed tables and evidence, highlighting the need for such incidents to cease immediately.
What was also expressed by the Greek Prime Minister and accepted by his Turkish counterpart is the need to promote the multi-level, positive agenda including economy, energy, migration, transport, security, EU support and tourism.
Although the issue of the eight military officers who attempted a coup in Turkey and fled to Greece immediately after the attempted coup d’état of 15 July 2016 failed, became front page news in many news portals, it was not really a key issue in the talks, with the Turkish Prime Minister showing understanding for respect shown to the decisions of the Greek judiciary.
“Of course there is a distinction of powers between justice and the executive in every state government by the rule of law. Of course, Justice will make its decisions, and the executive and the administration will do the things within their own competence. Turkey has lived through difficult days. We must not forget that we believe that those who attempted the coup – even though we respect the judiciary – will not attempt a coup against the Greek-Turkish relations” the Turkish Prime Minister pointed out.
During the one on one meeting between the two prime ministers, bilateral contacts were held between ministers and ministry officials. On behalf of Greece, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Minister of Energy Giorgos Stathakis, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Christos Spirtzis and Deputy Minister of Economy and Development Stergios Pitsiorlas participated, while Turkey was represented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, 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.
Following the private meeting the two Prime Ministers held, extended debate took place, followed by a press conference.
Then, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was received by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, followed by a meeting with the President of New Democracy and leader of the main opposition, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Binali Yildirim had a brief conversation with Greek journalists, noting the positive takeaways from his contacts in Greece and his optimism concerning Greek-Turkish relations. He finally confirmed the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Greece by the end of 2017./ΙΒΝΑ
Photos: IBNA/Spiros Sideris