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Turkey, Greece to start taking steps to improve ties, work on differences: FM

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Turkey and Greece will start taking concrete steps and working on joint projects to improve economic and commercial ties, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after talks Athens, as the NATO members seek to repair ties.

Tensions flared last year over a dispute over maritime jurisdiction and offshore rights in the eastern Mediterranean, and the countries traded barbs on Sunday over the status of Muslim minorities in Greece.

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Speaking at a news conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens, Cavusoglu said they reached an understanding on 25 articles to improve commercial ties, and both countries would recognize each other’s COVID-19 vaccinations, in a move to help tourism.

Cavusoglu said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were planning to meet at the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.

Dendias pledged to work to overcome the “serious differences” that remain with Turkey following a meeting with his counterpart which aimed to reset relations after a public spat between the two last month.

The Greek foreign minister said the talks with Cavusoglu offered the chance to plan a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit.

“We are fully aware of the different, and in some very serious issues he diametrically opposed positions, that we have,” he said in a brief statement following the meeting with Cavusoglu. “The purpose of today’s meeting was to attempt an initial negotiation process and if possible, a gradual normalization of the situation over time.”

The two countries, both members of the NATO alliance, are at odds over issues ranging from competing maritime territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean to the status of Cyprus and the treatment of migrant boats.

Read more:

Turkey FM to visit Athens after Muslim minority comment sparks tensions with Greece

Greek PM calls for improved ties with Turkey ahead of next week’s talks