Despite bust-up, Athens seeking open channels with Turkey
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reportedly expressed satisfaction at the way Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias handled his public confrontation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during their joint press conference in Ankara on Thursday.
Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, the government wants to maintain open channels of communication with Ankara and new contacts are expected in the coming period in order to prepare a meeting between Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Moreover, the Foreign Ministry sought on Friday to de-escalate the situation, focusing on the so-called positive agenda for the creation of a framework of cooperation between the two countries despite their disagreement on almost all issues.
This was reflected in the fact Greece’s deputy foreign minister in charge of economic diplomacy, Kostas Fragogiannis, who accompanied Dendias to Ankara, proposed 15 points of cooperation in the economic field. The Turkish side also submitted some specific proposals.
Dendias briefed the PM on his visit to Turkey at the Maximos Mansion on Friday. He also met with Erdogan during his trip.
Diplomatic sources confirmed on Thursday that Dendias was acting with Mitsotakis’ full support during the controversial press conference.
What was made abundantly clear in Athens on Friday was that Greece was not prepared to allow Ankara’s assertions via Cavusoglu to go unanswered and that Dendias’ stance had been agreed with the PM before his meeting with the Turkish foreign minister and Erdogan.
For his part, Erdogan, referring to the press conference, said, “Cavusoglu put Nikos Dendias in his place.”
“No one could expect him to remain silent,” Erdogan told journalists on Friday.