Amid growing concerns about the situation in Ukraine, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul this Sunday and will have lunch at the presidential residence.
Mitsotakis will be in Istanbul to celebrate the Feast of Orthodoxy at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The invitation of the Turkish president has its significance, as Erdogan himself two years ago, during the migrant crisis in Evros, stated that he does not want to sit at the same table with the Greek prime minister.
For several days now, Greek sources have stated that given the war in Ukraine and its consequences, conditions call for a meeting between the two sides. Mitsotakis had also publicly expressed his willingness to talk with Erdogan.
The view in Athens is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put a damper on the aggressive attitude of Turkey, which has seen that the West will not respond idly to such blatant violations of international law.
On the other hand, the Greek side is reportedly under no illusion that Greek-Turkish problems will stop because of Ukraine.
Government sources told Kathimerini that a key aim is to “stop Turkey’s revisionist rhetoric and demands that Greece demilitarizes its islands.”
Meanwhile, speaking ahead of Sunday’s meeting, the spokesperson of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Omer Celik said Monday that there is an extended list of issues that must be broached with Greece.
“There are many issues that we cannot agree on with Greece. Lately we have seen Greece turning problems that can be solved between ourselves into issues between Turkey and the European Union,” he said.
On Saturday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that “despite our peaceful approach, our invitations and our calls for dialogue, some Greek politicians continue their provocative actions.”