Greek PM Tsipras to Turkish Counterpart: Aegean Must Remain a Sea of Peace and Stability

Relations of trust and cooperation can only benefit Greece and Turkey, said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, welcoming his Turkish counterpart Minister Binali Yildirim in Athens.

“The relations of trust and cooperation between Greece and Turkey could benefit the peoples of both countries,” Tsipras said, adding that people should support their neighbors in hard times, something that both countries faced in the past year.

“I look forward to the opportunity to face challenges in a constructive way in order to provide solutions, I am looking forward to the opportunity to approach the issues in a positive way,” the Greek prime minister said.

“We are neighbors, we share the same fate and we have to face the matters with calmness,” said the Turkish prime minister. He also said there should be a positive way of dealing with issues without prejudice or misunderstandings.

“We have a saying in Turkish, that the neighbor even needs the ash of the wood his neighbor is burning. We need each other and we depend on each other on everything,” Yildirim said.

Tsipras: The Aegean must remain a sea of peace and stability

In a joint press conference after their meeting that lasted about 90 minutes, the Greek premier said that Turkish provocations in the Aegean are not helping the building of good relations. He was referring to the frequent Turkish aircraft violations of Greek airspace.

To that, his Turkish counterpart replied that Greek fighter jets violate Turkish airspace as well.

Tsipras spoke of the importance of a “positive agenda” between the two countries in areas such as energy, transport, counter-terrorism and the refugee-migration crisis. He stressed that the Turkish provocations do not help in that direction.

However, the Greek PM said, Greece supports Turkey’s accession to the European Union and good neighborly relations and mutual respect can contribute to the country’s quicker inclusion in the EU.

Tsipras Responds on extraditing Soldiers accused of taking part of attempted coup

Turkey respects Greece’s decision not to extradite eight soldiers who fled to Greece after last July’s attempted coup, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday.
“We would like Greece to extradite those who clearly staged a coup against our nation. We respect the judiciary’s decision, but we do not want these putschists to strike a blow to Turkish-Greek relations,” Yildirim said at a joint news conference with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in Athens.

The issue or not of the eight Turkish soldiers is a matter of Greek Justice and its decisions are fully respected, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a question on the Turkish government’s request for extradition.

Mr. Tsipras pointed out that from the very beginning, the Greek government was faced with the attempted coup d’état and added that they are not welcome in Greece, stressing that this is a political stance.