Erhan TÜRBEDAR, PhD TEPAV
Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou's speech at the Turkish Ambassadors Conference in Erzurum has triggered a new debate on Turkish-Greek relations once again. Although he gave reciprocal messages of friendship and peace with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Papandreou's statements have clearly shown that Greek approach towards problems between the two countries has absolutely not changed. Besides all that Papandreou's Erzurum visit is deemed important to keep rapprochement process between the two countries alive.
The both sides had vividly expressed their political will to develop mutual relations during Prime Minister Erdogan's Greece visit in May 2010. Moreover 21 agreements had been signed in the fields of tourism, energy, environment, trade and fight against illegal immigration. Hence Turkish-Greek relations have virtually entered a new era. A fresh and softening breeze has started to blow in Turkey-Greece relations. In fact Turkey is trying to take constructive steps to convert Mediterranean and Aegean into seas of peace. Greek Prime Minister Papandreou's statements have revealed that Athens is also aware that improving relations with Turkey is of Greek interest, too. However Papandreou's statement at the Ambassadors Conference in Erzurum saying that as long as occupation of Cyprus continues Turkey will never be able to become an EU member has pointed to the fact that a healthy level on Ankara-Athens dialogue line has not been reached yet.
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