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AFP: Erdogan heads to uneasy ally Greece for historic visit

AFP: Erdogan heads to uneasy ally Greece for historic visit

7 December 2017 | 06:00 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan begins the first visit by a Turkish head of state to Greece in 65 years Thursday, with concerns over relations as Athens said it was "worried" by his comments perceived as reviving territorial friction, AFP reports.
Ties between Turkey and Greece have warmed over the past 20 years, after decades of tension that almost sparked a miltary confrontation in 1996 ended when earthquakes struck both countries in 1999.

Relations today are relatively cordial, but a Greek government spokesman expressed concern after the Turkish president called for "improvements" to how airspace and waters between the two states are delineated in the Aegean Sea in a television interview on Wednesday.

"The interview today with Erdogan raises serious worries and questions," said Dimitris Tzanakopoulos in a statement, adding that Athens sees the visit as "an opportunity to build bridges, not walls".

With Turkey's bid to join the EU at a standstill and relations with much of the West frigid, Erdogan's trip will be only his second visit to an EU member since last year's failed coup, after talks in Poland this October.

Turkey's president Celal Bayar visited Greece in 1952, the same year the two countries simultaneously joined NATO with strong American backing.

Erdogan visited Greece twice as prime minister in 2004 and 2010, building on a rapprochement between Ankara and Athens that only began in earnest after the destructive quakes.
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