President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his accompanying delegation will be in Athens tomorrow for the 5th Turkish-Greek High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting. The resumption of the High Level Cooperation Council meetings, the last of which was held in 2016, is considered as a new page in the relations between the two countries.
President Erdoğan will travel to Athens tomorrow to attend the 5th meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) between Turkey and Greece after a 6-year hiatus. The reactivation of the mechanism, the 4th of which was organized in Izmir in 2016, is interpreted as a result of the positive atmosphere that has been blowing in Turkish-Greek relations for a while.
EXPECTATION OF A DEAL
Erdoğan will first meet with President Katerina Sakellaropulu at ‘Proedriko Megaro’ (presidential building) in Athens and then with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the adjacent ‘Megaro Maksimu’ (prime minister’s office). After making a statement to the press, the two leaders will preside over a working dinner meeting at the prime minister’s office. Ministers will hold separate meetings before the GCC meeting. It is expected that some bilateral agreements will be signed and a joint statement will be issued within the framework of the GCC.
THE GOAL IS TO MAINTAIN CALM
On the Greek government’s expectations regarding Erdoğan’s visit, State Minister Akis Skerços said: “We have opened a new page with Turkey. Tensions are less than they have been in recent years. The goal is to create a new atmosphere of trust with Turkey as much as possible so that the calm can continue.” Government spokesman Petros Marinakis said: “This very important meeting of the two leaders and the convening of the GCC is an important step towards establishing a dialogue. Our disagreements are well known. But we want these disagreements not to lead to crises.”
In recent weeks, President Erdoğan had revealed the codes of Ankara’s expectations from the Athens summit. Emphasizing win-win, President Erdoğan said on the plane returning from the United Arab Emirates, “Our understanding of foreign policy is not ‘I always win and the other side loses’. We will go to Athens with a ‘win-win’ understanding.” Erdoğan and Mitsotakis are expected to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional issues. Developments in Gaza and the Russia-Ukraine war are on the agenda of the two leaders.
JOINT ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION
The High Cooperation Council meeting is expected to be attended by 11 ministers from the Greek side and 8 ministers from the Turkish delegation. In addition to the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, economy and trade, the ministers of education and culture will also take part in the delegation. In addition, according to the Greek press, there is a proposal for Greek and Turkish archaeologists to conduct joint excavations in both Turkey and Greece. The excavations are expected to focus on the prehistoric period, which is “less political” than the classical and Hellenistic periods. Relations between Ankara and Athens had taken a lukewarm tone after the earthquakes centered in Kahramanmaras and the tragic train crash in Greece.
INTENSE SECURITY MEASURES
Extraordinary security measures will be implemented in the Greek capital due to the visit of Erdoğan and his accompanying delegation to Athens. Due to the visit, 3 thousand Greek police officers have been deployed. The Greek Police Organization, stating that its personnel will focus on Erdoğan’s visit, asked for the postponement of tomorrow’s football match between AEK and Aris. The Greek Football Federation accepted the request.
Auto translated from hurriyet.com.tr with deepl.com