Ankara on Tuesday confirmed reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Greece on May 31, without ruling out a last-minute change for his arrival to take place on May 30 so as to include a meeting in Hania on Crete with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The program will be clarified in due course and the agenda of the talks will be finalized with the arrival of Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal in the next 24 hours.
According to the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, the talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers will prepare for a possible meeting between Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO Summit in June. The daily said that one of the main topics of discussion between Dendias and Cavusoglu will be Greece’s alleged “attempt to impose a fictitious national identity” on the country’s Muslim minority in Thrace, which Ankara claims is a Turkish one.
Interestingly, the Yeni Safak report coincided with a speech on Tuesday by Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who slammed Mitsotakis for supposedly misidentifying “Turkish children as Greek children” during a video conference with the pupils of a kindergarten in Pachni, a Pomak village in the regional unit of Xanthi, on May 18.
“Mitsotakis messed up; he was caught up in a delirium,” Bahceli told deputies of his party.
“These are Turkish children. Pasavik is not a Pomak village,” he said, while urging the European Parliament to condemn what he described as Greece’s “policy of [forced] assimilation and fascism.”
Last Saturday the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging Greece to “stop denying the Turkish national identity of its compatriots in the region and to respect the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.”
Meanwhile, the fourth round of meetings on confidence building measures between the Greek and Turkish defense ministries will take place via video conference on Wednesday and Thursday.