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Greek Prime Minister plans May trip to Ankara for bilateral talks

Kyriakos Mitsotakis aims to address tensions with Turkey, emphasizes diplomatic dialogue

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis indicated on Tuesday that he is planning a trip to Ankara in May, hailing what he said was a “sincere desire” from the Turkish side to “bridge tensions” with Greece.

“As the program stands right now, I will be in Ankara at some point in May, to reciprocate the visit by [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” Mitsotakis told Skai TV in a wide-ranging interview, referring to the Turkish president’s visit to Athens last December.

“There is a sincere desire on the part of the Turkish leadership to bridge the tensions… We are talking about the big thorn of the EEZ [exclusive economic zone] delimitation, but, even if we don’t resolve it, we can agree to disagree in a civilized manner,” Mitsotakis said.

“This does not mean we will not enhance our deterrent capabilities,” the prime minister added.

On ties with another neighbor, Mitsotakis conceded that the conviction of Fredi Beleri has “affected relations” between Greece and Albania while expressing reservations about the handling of the judicial investigation and trial against the elected mayor of the predominantly ethnic-Greek city of Himare.

“I hope the matter will be resolved,” the Greek prime minister added, without elaborating on what Athens’ next steps will be.

With regards to the deadly train crash at Tempe last year that cost the lives of 57 people, mainly university students, Mitsotakis said that the “final word” rests with the justice system.

“Political leaders are trying to build a career on the Tempe accident,” Mitsotakis said after an acrimonious session in Parliament involving the House committee tasked with investigating the causes of the tragedy.

Asked to comment on the matter of Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou and complaints by overseas Greeks who said they received campaign material from the conservative MEP for the upcoming European elections on their private emails without their consent, Mitsotakis noted that the affair needs to be “investigated in depth.”

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