Greece ready to assist Turkey immediately

Aid mission dispatched as PM tells Erdogan that Athens is prepared to help in every way

Greece ready to assist Turkey immediately

In a phone call on Monday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated Greece’s readiness to immediately assist Turkey in every way as it struggles with the dire consequences of two devastating earthquakes and many aftershocks in the southeastern part of the country and neighboring Syria.

Greece has already dispatched a team to the region and Mitsotakis sought to immediately convey the deep condolences of his government and the Greek people, and that Greece is ready to help.

The so-called “earthquake diplomacy” was first activated after the successive earthquakes that hit both countries in the summer of 1999 and led to an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations.

The effort to open channels had been under way since Monday morning. Kathimerini understands there was a communication between the prime minister’s diplomatic adviser Anna-Maria Boura and Erdogan’s representative Ibrahim Kalin. 

According to the same sources, they agreed that the channels of the two sides can remain open.

Adding in turn a crucial link in the chain of open channels, was a telephone call between Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. Dendias also conveyed the message that Greece is ready to provide humanitarian aid to Turkey.

Greece meanwhile sent a team of 21 firefighters from an EMAK disaster response team with two rescue dogs and a special rescue vehicle, as an aid mission to Turkey. Sources said the team was be accompanied by an engineer officer of the Fire Service with specialization in shoring up the ruins of collapsed buildings, five doctors and rescuers from the National Center for Emergency Assistance (EKAB), as well as the president of the Organization of Antiseismic Planning and Protection (OASP), Efthimios Lekkas. 

The nascent new “earthquake diplomacy” is likely to change, even if only temporarily, the landscape of Greek-Turkish relations in view of the elections in both countries. Obviously, Turkish revisionism will not be eliminated by the deadly earthquake, nor is there room for deep changes at the strategic level. “The tragedy may bring a temporary lull in relations between the two sides,” an experienced analyst told Kathimerini. 

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