Home » Türkiye, Greece Give Positive Messages Ahead of Critical Elections
Europe Featured Greece News Politics Turkey

Türkiye, Greece Give Positive Messages Ahead of Critical Elections

The leaders of Türkiye and Greece conveyed mutually positive messages for bilateral ties in the upcoming period as the two countries are heading toward critical elections this month.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed to a fresh start between Türkiye and Greece once the leaders of the two countries are reelected this month.

Speaking to the Greek Kathimerini news outlet, Erdoğan said that hostilities and competitions can be set aside, as these have “significantly harmed both countries and should not persist.”

“I hope that the elections in Greece and Türkiye will mark the beginning of a new era,” he said.

Although both neighbors are approaching critical elections, the rhetoric between the two countries has not escalated.

Despite territorial and energy disputes exacerbating regional tensions, the two neighbors, situated on seismic fault lines, also have a tradition of helping each other in times of natural disasters and Greece was among the first countries to convey its condolences and offer aid after the disaster.

Relations between Athens and Ankara have warmed significantly in recent weeks after Greece’s rapid assistance in the wake of twin earthquakes that shook southern Türkiye in early February.

Likewise, Türkiye was the first country to offer condolences and aid following a deadly Feb. 28 train accident in northern Greece that left dozens dead.

The Greek government has sent 80 tons of medical and first aid equipment. Thousands of Greeks had responded to calls for aid to quake-hit Türkiye, reviving memories of how a spontaneous outpouring of help after a similar disaster in 1999 brought the neighbors together when they seemed to be on the brink of war.

Türkiye will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday with Erdoğan seeking reelection and the opposition uniting under Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Greece, on the other hand, will hold its most unpredictable election in over a decade on May 21. It is expected to be a close contest between the conservative New Democracy of outgoing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the left-wing Syriza of former Premier Alexis Tsipras.

‘Better relations’

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Associated Press (AP), Mitsotakis similarly said he hoped for better relations with Türkiye if he is reelected.

The prime minister said that he hopes to build on a reduction of rhetoric following the earthquakes. “It is a pity. We don’t have to wait for a catastrophe to strike, nor are we destined to live in a state of permanent tension,” Mitsotakis said.

“I would hope that the next Turkish government would overall reconsider its approach toward the West, not just toward Greece, toward Europe, toward NATO and toward the United States,” Mitsotakis said. “But again, I have to be a realist and not be too naive, and that is why we will continue with … our firm foreign policy. That means we will continue to strengthen our deterrence capabilities and our defense capabilities.”

However, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar speaking to military personnel in Muğla province said that Türkiye does not engage in an aggressive stance toward any neighbor.

“We do not take an aggressive attitude toward any of our neighbors, including Greece. We are in favor of solving problems through dialogue and peaceful means and methods within the framework of international law and good neighborly relations. We say that the Aegean Sea should be a sea of friendship, that the wealth of both sides should be shared fairly, that they should live in safety, happiness and prosperity,” he maintained.

Source : Daily Sabah