Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years, the country’s deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu said on Thursday, adding he expected the trip to improve bilateral ties between Athens and Ankara.
“Our president will be the first Turkish president visiting Greece in 65 years. I think this visit will yield significant results,” Cavusoglu was quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.
Celal Bayar, Turkey’s third president, visited Greece in 1952.
Cavusoglu said the visit, the date of which has yet to be confirmed, will take place in the coming days. He added he expected the visit to strengthen bilateral ties between the two Aegean neighbors.
He did not say whether Erdogan would travel to western Thrace, in northern Greece.
Controversial comments made by Cavusoglu during talks with members of the Muslim minority during his recent visit to the region are said to have temporarily complicated Erdogan’s planned trip to Greece.
Meanwhile however tensions flared again over the Aegean Sea on Wednesday. Five Turkish military aircraft violated Greek air space in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean eight times, leading to one mock dogfight with Greek jets that were dispatched to the area.
The Turkish aircraft – four F-16s and one CN-235 – also violated the Athens Flight Information Region four times.
Two of the F-16s were armed, according to Greek defense sources who said all the Turkish aircraft were chased off by Greek aircraft in line with international rules of engagement.