“Turkey is ready for dialogue without any preconditions to improve bilateral relations with Greece,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias in Athens on Monday.
Cavusoglu added that the neighbors agreed to resolve differences “within the framework of good neighborly relations, international law and respect for mutual interests.”
The Turkish minister earlier told Greek newspaper To Vima that the two countries were “destined to live in the same geography as two neighbors,” and should define their relations “with cooperation rather than confrontation.”
Dendias said he aims for “gradual normalization” with Ankara. He recognized that the historic rivals have “different and, on certain serious issues, diametrically opposed positions.”
The countries outlined 25 areas in which they plan to improve cooperation, including tourism, transportation, and trade. They also agreed to recognize each other’s Covid-19 vaccination certificates.
Cavusoglu said that defense delegations are scheduled to meet in Ankara in the future. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to meet on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.
Ankara and Athens have clashed in recent years over Turkey’s exploration of natural resources near Greek territorial waters. Last year, Erdogan warned that Greece will pay “a heavy price” if a Turkish geological survey vessel was attacked. Athens accused Turkey of whipping up military tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece also accused Turkey of using Navy and Coast Guard ships to push the boats carrying Middle Eastern migrants into Greek waters. Ankara, meanwhile, heavily criticized the Greek police for using violence to stop migrants crossing from Turkey into Greece.