Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras raised the issue of the frequent violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets, stressing that the withdrawal of the “Casus Belli” state from Turkey towards Greece would be a timely act in light of the current situation.
The issue was raised during the joint press conference between Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu after the completion of the Greece-Turkey High Cooperation Council at Smyrna. Davutoglu avoided diplomatically to speak about withdrawing the “casus belli” and tried to justify the airspace violations. He clarified that cooperation in the refugee crisis does not mean that each country would retreat from its positions.
The top priority of the meeting is saving lives of refugees who make the perilous journey from the Turkish coasts to the nearby Greek islands, Tsipras stated. On his part, Davutoglu stressed that Greece and Turkey are bearing the brunt of the consequences of the refugee crisis.
Both officials agreed to reaffirm and update the plan of action regarding readmission of “irregular” migrants from Greece to Turkey. The two politicians will adopt a more effective course of action which would supplement the EU’s decisions on the refugee matter.
Davutoglu expressed the hope that the relations between the two countries would improve even further. Davutoglu added that investments from Turkish and Greek entrepreneurs should continue on both sides of the Aegean. Tsipras thanked his counterpart for the hospitality and connected the current refugee crisis with the city of Smyrna which, as he said, was historically tied to refugee flows in the past.
“Smyrna is a city that symbolizes trade and brotherhood in the Aegean,” the Greek prime minister said. Tsipras added that the two men agreed to commence a direct air route between Athens and Ankara.
The two men agreed to continue cooperation in solving the Cyprus issue.
Among the bilateral agreements signed by the two delegations were the maritime connection between the ports of Thessaloniki and Smyrna, the railway between Thessaloniki and Istanbul and agreements on closer cooperation in the tourism sector.