Beyond diplomatic niceties

For any sober-minded observer, steps to promote rapprochement between Greece and Turkey are sensible and desirable.

However, the campaign will have little chance of success unless both sides, Athens as well as Ankara, decide to behave in a responsible and mature fashion.

The Turkish side failed to respect this fundamental principle when air force fighter jets flew over a number of Greece?s Aegean islands ahead of Prime Minister George Papandreou?s visit to the neighboring country last week.

This provocative habit must stop immediately as it has nothing positive to offer the good-neighborly relations between the two nations.

The pointed remarks made by Papandreou, who underscored Greece?s frustration with Turkey?s ongoing transgressions in the Aegean, in front of a Turkish audience were justified. Diplomatic niceties will not be enough to improve bilateral ties. Ankara will have to stop provocative acts that undermine political efforts.