A promising stopover

Those who foresaw possible dangers and traps in the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Greece, especially to Thrace – and so soon after the rejection of a proposed solution to reunify Cyprus – were proved wrong. Indeed, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit indisputably contributed to further boosting ties between the two countries, a fact which allows Greek authorities to take their time in carefully planning their future moves on a range of «sensitive» foreign policy issues. There is no doubt that the activities and statements of the visiting Turkish premier were part and parcel of his country’s ongoing efforts to promote its European profile ahead of a European Union summit in December, when it will be decided whether Ankara will receive a date for EU accession negotiations – an eventuality which has been deemed extremely positive for Greece’s long-term national interests. Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis agreed to broach the two most pressing issues in Greek-Turkish relations – a solution to the Cyprus problem and the clarification of territorial rights in the Aegean – at an unspecified later date after fostering greater trust between the two countries. Nevertheless, should Turkey not be granted a date for the launch of accession talks in December it will undoubtedly provoke some tensions and complications in this burgeoning relationship.

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