Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, September 2, 1999 Published at 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK

World: Europe

Turkey hails thaw with Greece

Greeks protest at Nato moves to strengthen cooperation with Turkey

The Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, has welcomed a recent improvement in relations with Greece, after years of tension between the two countries.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Ankara: "The response to the disaster has provided a real impetus for change"
He said high-level dialogue was now under way, and called for the two countries to embark on "multi-dimensional cooperation".

Greece and Turkey have been on the brink of war three times in the past 25 years.

But there has been a thaw in recent months, and there was evidence of this in the speed with which Greece sent rescue teams and aid to Turkey after last month's earthquake.

Door to dialogue

[ image: The Greek delegation to talks in July]
The Greek delegation to talks in July
"The beginning of a dialogue seems to have started between Greece and Turkey," Mr Ecevit said on Turkish TV.

"In recent years, especially after it joined the EU, Greece refused to engage in a dialogue for the solution of our problems.

"The door to a dialogue has been opened now. I hope that this will lead us to concrete results at the more advanced stages."

The Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, said humanitarian links between the peoples of the two countries had prompted the politicians to think in more productive and creative terms.

Relations reached a low point in February, when Turkey discovered that Greece had given shelter to the Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

But since then things have been gradually improving.

Greek support

[ image: Rescuers are still looking for survivors of the quake]
Rescuers are still looking for survivors of the quake
Senior Turkish and Greek diplomats started holding meetings at the end of July.

They discussed subjects such as trade, crime and the environment, avoiding the sensitive issues of the divided island of Cyprus and territorial demarcation in the Aegean Sea.

Greece has now said it will support a European Union plan to grant Turkey massive financial aid to help it re-build after last month's disaster.

"The earthquake showed that there exists a dynamic, that there are possibilities for improvements in the climate between Greece and Turkey - something I think we should maintain and develop," Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis said.

Improved ties with Greece would lift a major obstacle hindering Turkey's admission to the EU and would strengthen cooperation within Nato.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

17 Aug 99 | Europe
International community rallies round

26 Jul 99 | Europe
Turkey and Greece aim to ease tension

17 Jun 99 | Europe
Turkey rejects Cyprus peace move

23 Feb 99 | World
Turkey brands Greece 'outlaw state'

Internet Links

Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift