Greek PM Tsipras to visit Turkey amid low expectations


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, kicking off a two-day visit to Turkey for which Greek diplomats do not hold particularly high expectations.

According to sources, the best-case scenario would be the announcement of a relaunch of exploratory talks or of confidence-building measures between the two sides.

It remained unclear whether Greece’s new defense minister, former armed forces chief Evangelos Apostolakis, was planning to respond positively to an invitation for talks by his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.

Tsipras, for his part, is expected to visit Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios on the second day of his visit. It remained unclear however whether he would use the opportunity to call for a reopening of the Halki Orthodox seminary.

Apart from bilateral relations, Tsipras and Erdogan are expected to discuss exploratory talks on a possible new peace push for Cyprus.

There is currently more concern about Turkish activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, which has increased in recent weeks, than about the Aegean which did not see upheaval on the anniversary of the Imia crisis for the first time in four years, Kathimerini understands.

Another issue expected to be discussed is the case of eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece following a failed Turkish coup in 2016. Last week, Turkey’s National Security Council said that Ankara will continue to pursue suspected participants in the coup – including the eight servicemen Greece has refused to extradite.