Greek FM Nikos Dendias in Turkey in show of support following devastating earthquake

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Greece’s foreign minister arrived in Turkey on Sunday in a show of support after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake seven days ago, the ministry said, despite a longstanding rivalry between the two NATO countries.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was met by his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to footage on state-run ERT TV, before they boarded helicopters to quake-hit regions.

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His arrival marks the first visit by a European minister to Turkey since the earthquake.

The two ministers are traveling to Antakya, where Greek rescuers are helping with search and rescue operations.

The ministry said he will also visit members of the Greek Aid Mission in the country.

Greece – despite a history of rivalry with Turkey that goes back centuries – was among the first European countries to send rescue workers and humanitarian aid on Monday, a few hours after the disaster.

The regional rivalry has been exacerbated by territorial and energy disputes and by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent bombastic threats of invasion.

But the two neighbors, which lie on seismic fault lines, also have a tradition of helping each other in natural disasters.

More than 28,000 people have been killed by Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor, with many thousands injured and millions left homeless.

Tens of thousands of rescue workers are scouring flattened neighborhoods despite freezing weather that has deepened the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid.

The Greek government has so far sent 80 tonnes of medical and first aid equipment.

According to the ministry, the foreign minister will also discuss ways Greece can give further assistance to Turkey.

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