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Turkey’s Erdogan, Greek PM stress maintaining positive momentum in ties

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Ankara, May 14 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have stressed on the significance of maintaining the recent positive trajectory in bilateral relations, despite longstanding disputes.

In a joint press conference in Ankara on Monday, Erdogan emphasised the importance of dialogue, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Despite the differences, we focus on the positive agenda by keeping our dialogue channels open,” he said.

The Turkish President added that the two sides held a constructive dialogue, addressing issues in Turkey-Greece relations, and agreed to aim for a bilateral trade volume of $10 billion.

Erdogan expressed hope that the improved relations would positively impact the rights of the Turkish minority in Greece.

He also stressed the necessity of a “fair and permanent solution” to the Cyprus issue, based on the island’s realities, to enhance regional stability and peace.

Regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, Erdogan diverged from Mitsotakis, saying, “I do not see Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Hamas is a resistance group that protects its lands.”

Mitsotakis acknowledged the ongoing development of bilateral cooperation, saying the mutual understanding between the two sides and relations are evolving positively.

He also reaffirmed Greece’s support for Turkey’s EU accession process.

Mitsotakis noted a divergence in perspectives on the Gaza issue.

“We know that Turkey accepts Hamas, which we consider a terrorist group, in a different way,” he said, noting that Greece also agrees that civilians must be protected.

–IANS

int/khz

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