Kyriakos Mitsotakis – Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Their meeting extends Greek-Turkish moratorium

The joint appearance of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO Summit in Washington today offers an opportunity for another meeting between the two leaders. This meeting, scheduled for around 23:00 Greek time, will “seal” the extension of the informal Greek-Turkish moratorium, providing a chance for discussion ahead of their upcoming meeting in Cyprus on July 20, marking the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion.

On July 20, Mitsotakis will be in Nicosia, invited by Cypriot President Nicos Christodoulides, to speak at a commemoration event at the Presidential Palace. This makes him the first Greek Prime Minister to visit the island for this “black” anniversary, a visit that carries strong symbolism. Simultaneously, Tayyip Erdogan will be in the occupied territories, attending the annual parade and making provocative statements to push for a two-state solution. The two leaders are expected to discuss this issue, even if briefly.

Composition and Next Steps

As in previous meetings, the two leaders will be accompanied by their diplomatic advisers, Anna Maria Bura and Akif Chagatai Kilits, and their foreign ministers, George Gerapetritis and Hakan Fidan. While the meeting is not expected to be long, it will be significant, with the foreign ministers possibly staying longer to discuss the ongoing Greek-Turkish dialogue.

The path to resolving deeper issues remains challenging, and the current political momentum in Greece is not as strong as before. However, contacts at all levels continue, and the ‘positive agenda’ is progressing. Planning is underway for political dialogue in the autumn, following the recent appointment of new deputy foreign ministers in Turkey.

Mitsotakis’ Statements on Greek-Turkish Relations

“Over the last year and a half, things have improved significantly. While acknowledging that some fundamental Turkish positions on the Eastern Mediterranean have not changed radically, we’ve had sixteen months without violations of Greek airspace, better cooperation on migration issues, and an agreement allowing Turkish citizens to quickly obtain visas to visit the Aegean islands. These are positive steps,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted yesterday, speaking with former US Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhardt at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Message to Skopje

Previewing his stance for the NATO summit, Mitsotakis issued new warnings to Skopje, accusing the new government of not respecting the Prespa Agreement. “One of the fundamental aspects of this agreement is the name North Macedonia being used erga omnes. This is clear and non-negotiable for Greece. When the new government refers to the country as the Republic of Macedonia, I have serious concerns. This issue will be addressed as it is not constructive and does not aid North Macedonia’s European path,” Mitsotakis stated. The Greek government believes that a clear message will be sent by NATO allies to Skopje to refrain from provocative actions.

Despite the strained relations between Athens and Skopje, Mitsotakis and Mitskoski will be in the same room, although a bilateral meeting is not planned. It remains to be seen if they will have a brief conversation. Mitsotakis has not congratulated Mitskoski on his election victory due to his provocative remarks.

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