Turkey and Greece should resolve their problems peacefully by creating common interests in the region, making use of the “God-given” opportunity of being neighbouring countries, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in Antalya, where he was attending at NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting on 13th May.
In an interview with Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’, Kotzias said he had proposed a new framework with Turkey, Greece and Italy, to stabilise and secure the whole Mediterranean region.
Turkey and Greece held High Level Cooperation Council meetings in 2010 and in 2013 and signed many agreements. Kotzias (pictured left) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu (right) decided to set up a commission to see how efficiently these agreements are implemented. The two countries will hold a new meeting of the council at the end of 2015, the Greek Minister said.
“New Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras wants to visit Turkey in 2015 to participate in the high level council meeting”, Kotzias said, adding that arrangements would be made after the next month’s elections in Turkey.
“Tsipras met with [Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu while he was leader of the opposition at the airport for one-and-a-half hours. They had a positive chemistry. Tsipras wanted to meet Davutoglu to learn about each other and to see how they can understand each other, to keep relations better than they were in the past,” he said.
Touching on the Cyprus talks, Kotzias described the newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci as “a politician who still has an old identity as Cypriot”.
“He feels Cypriot, not just Turkish Cypriot. He speaks Greek. His citizens don’t speak Greek anymore. Old Greek Cypriot politicians [spoke] Turkish and Turkish Cypriots spoke Greek. But now there’s a good momentum. This generation can make a good solution. Afterwards it will be much more difficult,” he said.
Greek Foreign Minister stressed that the Cyprus dispute is “a problem for Cypriots, not for Greeks or Turks”, adding: “The Turkish Cypriots had difficult years 1963-1964 because of the behaviour of part of the other population in Cyprus. What we have to do is to give possibility to the Turkish Cypriots getting the maximum rights they are asking for. In every society you have communities, minorities. The most important thing is that the Turkish Cypriots feel, believe and live with the thought that Cyprus is their own, home island“.
The guarantor powers, the Turkish army and the Greek army, should move away from the island, he added, saying that nobody should pressure the leaders in Cyprus to create their own momentum.