Ankara has started to work on concrete projects with a focus on action and cooperation with the Greek side, and the two countries agreed on 25 items in the list of areas of cooperation, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias attend a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, Greece, May 31, 2021.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias attend a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, Greece, May 31, 2021. (Reuters)

Turkey and Greece will start taking concrete steps and working on joint projects to improve economic and commercial ties, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said after talks in Athens, as the NATO members seek to repair ties.

Tensions flared last year over a row over maritime jurisdiction and offshore rights in the eastern Mediterranean, and the countries traded barbs on Sunday over the status of Muslim minorities in Greece.

Speaking at a news conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens on Monday, Cavusoglu said they reached an understanding on 25 articles to improve commercial ties, and both countries would recognise each other's Covid-19 vaccinations, in a move to help tourism.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were planning to meet at the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.

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Greece: Aiming to smooth out 'serious differences' 

Dendias pledged to work to overcome the "serious differences" that remain with Turkey following a meeting with his counterpart Cavusoglu which aimed to reset relations after a public spat between the two last month.

Dendias said the talks with Cavusoglu offered the chance to plan a meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit.

"We are fully aware of the different, and in some very serious issues the diametrically opposed positions, that we have," he said in a brief statement following the meeting with Cavusoglu.

"The purpose of today's meeting was to attempt an initial negotiation process and if possible, a gradual normalisation of the situation over time."

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Recognising each other’s Covid-19 vaccine certificates

Both countries also agreed to recognise each other’s Covid-19 vaccine certificates.

“The agreement we reached today will mutually contribute positively to our tourism sectors,” Cavusoglu said.

He said Turkey is ready for dialogue without any preconditions to improve bilateral relations with Greece.

“We agreed to resolve differences within the framework of good neighbourly relations, international law and respect for mutual interests,” he said.

Cavusoglu said the fifth round of meeting on confidence-building measures between Turkish and Greek defence delegations is scheduled to be held in Turkey’s capital Ankara.

Dendias, for his part, said they discussed bilateral relations as well as the EU-Turkey relations in the meeting.

The Greek foreign minister said that the two sides also agreed on a list of economic cooperation programs.

He also congratulated Cavusoglu over Turkish basketball team Anadolu Efes’ victory in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

Before meeting his Greek counterpart, the Turkish foreign minister also met with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis.

“Revitalisation of our dialogue channels is a positive step. Enhancing our relations is important to solve our differences,” he said on Twitter.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies