Turkish PM Yildirim in Athens


Beginning an official visit to Athens on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim underlined the importance of good neighborly relations as did his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in a televised exchange before private talks.

Tsipras also stressed the need to boost mutual trust and tackle "challenges." "At difficult times neighbors should support each other," he said.

The visit follows a spate of Turkish air space violations in the Aegean and tensions over alleged pushbacks of Turkish asylum seekers by Greek authorities.

According to government sources, talks between Yildirim and Tsipras are to focus on immigration, Greek-Turkish relations, Ankara’s ties with the Brussels, as well as the Cyprus peace talks ahead of the June 28 Geneva Conference.

The Turkish premier is also to meet with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Yildirim will round off his visit to Greece with a trip to the northern region of Thrace, which has a Muslim minority. The Thrace visit will be private, according to sources who said Yildirim will partake in iftar, the meal when Muslims end the daily Ramadan fast at sunset.