PM’s historic trip to Turkey will go ahead

Athens yesterday denied claims that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s historic official trip for talks with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara had been canceled, with Foreign Ministry sources telling Kathimerini the visit is due to take place in October. The trip had initially been slated for August, but the more time passed before an official date was announced, the more rumors circulated that the meeting between Karamanlis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been shelved amid the apparently uncertain future of Turkey’s bid to enter the EU. However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos denied this was the case and said negotiations were ongoing. Sources told Kathimerini there are concerns in Athens about a visit before October 3, when the EU will decide whether Ankara will be given a firm date for the start of membership negotiations. Meanwhile, Koumoutsakos said Greece was still fully behind Turkey’s efforts to join the EU, despite a Eurobarometer poll published this week showing 70 percent of Greeks against the idea.

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