PM: Erdogan meeting an opportunity

PM: Erdogan meeting an opportunity

A scheduled meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12 will be an opportunity to “chart a path of rapprochement,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said.

“It will be the first meeting after the re-election of both of us. We are both at the beginning of our government term, with a strong popular mandate,” Mitsotakis said, speaking after the European Council summit in Brussels.

“It is an opportunity to redefine the context of Greek-Turkish relations and chart a path of rapprochement, without Greece backing down on its red lines that I have referred to publicly many times.”

On the issue of Poland and Hungary’s blocking of an agreement on migration at the summit of European Union leaders, Mitsotakis said, “It was a long and difficult meeting in which unfortunately we did not reach any conclusions, due to the refusal of Poland and Hungary to cooperate with the rest of the states.”

A declaration would be made by the president of the European Council that represents the position of the remaining 25 EU states, he said, adding that despite the disagreements, “there is universal agreement on the need to guard the external borders.”

“We have to find ways to prevent traffickers from putting people in boats,” Mitsotakis stressed. 

The Greek premier also underlined the “need to cooperate with the countries of North Africa and break the trafficking networks so that vulnerable people do not board rotten ships.”

He said it was “a Greek success that far fewer boats set out from Turkey” because “they know that the possibility of reaching their final destination is limited.”

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