Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos on Thursday expressed the hope that Greece and Turkey can boost understanding and ease tensions following talks in Antalya with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
"The two countries can offer an example of peaceful coexistence with respect for the rules of international law," Katrougalos said, adding that the two sides want to proceed with "a positive agenda."
"We do not believe in war between peoples," Greece's top diplomat said, expressing his hope in the beginning of a "period of better understanding, the de-escalation of tension and the promotion of dialogue."
On the issue of energy, Katrougalos defended Cyprus's "self-evident" right to manage the reserves in its exclusive economic zone for the benefit of both communities on the divided island, acknowledging that Turkey too has rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
He also reiterated Greece's support for Turkey's European Union accession prospects, saying that it was in the interests of the EU, the Turkish people and Greece to have "a friendly European Turkey on our eastern border."
On the Cyprus problem, he said the two ministers agreed to have exploratory talks to determine the stance of each side.
The topics of discussion on Thursday included hydrocarbon exploration, the "Turkish" minority in Thrace and Cyprus, Cavusoglu said.
On the issue of gas exploration, Cavusoglu noted that "no project is realistic without the participation of Turkey," he said, thanking Katrougalos for noting that Turkey should not be excluded.
Cavusoglu also underlined the need to boost economic cooperation between the two countries.Increasing investments and tourism between the two countries is one goal, he said.
On the issue of confidence-building measures, which Athens and Ankara are aiming to focus on, Cavusoglu said that military officials from each side would meet first with the first exchange on the political level to happen in April.
More meetings are planned for the coming weeks, Cavusoglu said, adding that he would visit Greece after elections in Turkey on March 31.