NEWS

Greek-Turkish cooperation council to go ahead

VASSILIS NEDOS

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

TAGS: Diplomacy

The Supreme Council of Cooperation between Greece and Turkey will convene in the first half of 2018 in Thessaloniki, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confirmed in a radio interview.

The meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers last October had decided to schedule the council’s meeting for February, which was confirmed later at the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Athens.

Tsipras stated that the council must convene in spite of the problems in the Greek-Turkish relations.

“The worst thing you can do is not to discuss, not to have any channels of communication and contact, not to try to resolve the existing problems. We have proven we do not have such a mentality and I believe that so far we have done well to open channels of communication despite the existing differences,” Tsipras told Real FM.

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias had referred on Tuesday to the attitude of Athens vis-a-vis Ankara: He said the Greek government is trying to create alliances as wide as possible “with those who understand the need for stability and peace in the region; we wish to influence Turkey with our attitude and capacity, so that its anxiety is not exported to the Aegean.”

Kotzias added that “despite the problems, the current Turkish leadership is showing a greater rationalism than the secular opposition” which he accused of “ultranationalist and extreme” positions on issues related to the Greek-Turkish relations.

He also said that Athens has not given up trying to find channels of communication with Ankara, particularly so in a period when forces that just a few months ago had very bad relations with Turkey are seeking cooperation with it.

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