Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos has scheduled a two-day visit to Turkey this coming weekend, on November 29 and 30, where he will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Melvut Cavusoglu, a week before the third Greek – Turkish High Level Cooperation Council that will be held in Athens on December 5 and 6.
During his visit to the neighboring country, the Minister and Vice President of the Greek coalition government is also expected to meet with Turkey’s newly elected President and Former Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but not with current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Venizelos’ visit to Turkey comes in a period when tension between the two countries has risen due to the energy reserves discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Since mid-October, Turkish seismic vessel “Barbaros” is conducting hydrocarbons research in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a move that lead Nicosia to withdraw from the United Nations-backed negotiations with the Turkish-Cypriot community over the Cyprus problem.
According to Venizelos’ visit schedule, he will attend the Thronal Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul on Sunday, a ceremony which is expected to be attended by Pope Francis, who will also be visiting Turkey.
Today, the Greek Foreign Minister had a phone conversation with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, ahead of the latter’s heart surgery in New York on December 4. Furthermore, before his visit to Turkey, Venizelos will meet with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Friday at 1:00 pm and is expected to brief him on foreign policy issues.