Greek PM expresses support for ‘positive’ relations with Turkey ahead of NATO summit

Greece's prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that his country is willing to support the European Union’s push for “positive” relations with Turkey, the Associated Press reported

Mitsotakis made the remark ahead of Monday’s NATO summit in Brussels, where he will meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AP noted. 

“Of course, we are always open to a positive agenda but in a gradual, proportionate, and reversible way…, provided that the current de-escalation is maintained and that Turkey participates constructively in the dialogue and respects the conditions set by the EU,” Mitsotakis said. 

His comments come after a period of heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece over disputed maritime boundaries and gas drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Last summer, a naval standoff between the two sides ensued after Turkey dispatched energy research ships into waters Greece claims ownership over. This raised fears of armed conflict at the time.

During that tense time, Athens called on the EU to impose wide-ranging sanctions against Turkey. The EU refused but did pressure Turkey to engage in diplomacy with Greece, AP recalled. 

Tensions cooled when the countries held two rounds of talks, the first in five years, and their foreign ministers visited each other’s capitals, AP noted.