Balkans | Positive mood in Turkey’s relations with Greece and Armenia after the earthquakes

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Balkans |  Positive mood in Turkey’s relations with Greece and Armenia after the earthquakes

After the February 6 earthquake, messages of solidarity by the governments of Athens and Yerevan and campaigns for aid to the people of these two countries created a positive atmosphere in bilateral relations.

Turkey’s neighbors Greece and Armenia were among the countries that for the first time issued a message of condolence and took measures to help after the earthquakes.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who made a statement of condolence on the morning of February 6 after the first earthquake, announced that they would mobilize their resources to help Turkey.

A search and rescue team of the Greek Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK) departed from Athens on the same day with a Hellenic Armed Forces C-130 aircraft, and then another team from the EMAK unit arrived in Turkey from Thessaloniki.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Mitsotakis called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone and conveyed their condolences to those who lost their lives, thus breaking the silence between the Turkish and Greek leaders for some time.

Mitsotakis stated that Greece will continue to show its solidarity with Turkey in the post-earthquake period, and that it will assume its role as a neighboring country in the reconstruction of the earthquake-affected areas, adding: “I think maybe something better can come from this drama of Turkish-Greek relations.” He said.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who was on a trip to Latin America during the earthquake, visited the earthquake zone upon his return and met Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu there.

While the two ministers gave positive messages in the statement they gave to reporters in Hatay after investigations in the earthquake area, they emphasized that both countries rushed to help each other in the 1999 Golcuk and Athens earthquakes and that “there is no need to wait for an earthquake or any disaster for relations to improve.”

While Cavusoglu noted that Greece was one of the first countries to contact Turkey and offer assistance to it, Dendias also called for aid and support for Turkey when he met with EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Mobilizing aid from Greece to Turkey

In addition to EMAK, several volunteer search and rescue teams from Greece also participated in the earthquake zone, while several public and private institutions, including the Hellenic Red Cross and the Hellenic Association of Municipalities, collected aid to send to the earthquake victims.

In the campaign, in which the Greek people also showed interest, assistance was delivered to the earthquake victims in coordination with the Greek Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the cooperation of the Turkish Embassy in Athens and the Consulates General in Athens – Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Komotini and Rhodes.

They talked about the warm welcome of the Turkish people.

The search and rescue teams returning from Turkey shared their memories of being welcomed by the Turkish people and emphasized the friendship between the two peoples.

In Greece, GSM operators communicate with Turkey for free, the children’s choir of the Mikis Theodorakis Museum sings songs of friendship for earthquake victims, donations of proceeds from some sports competitions to earthquake victims, and the morning news program of Greek state television ERT broadcasts pictures of the earthquake from Turkey and “I love you” in Turkish. I have informed the world.” Many examples of solidarity have emerged, such as the opening of the cartoon with a song in Kathimerini and the publication of a cartoon in the Kathimerini newspaper, in which a young man wrote “We are all Turks” on the wall with spray paint in his hand.

Messages of solidarity from Turkey in the train accident

While messages of solidarity were exchanged from Turkey after the train accident that occurred in Greece on March 1, President Erdogan sent a message of condolence to Sakellaropoulou and Mikotakis. Foreign Minister Cavusoglu called his counterpart Dendias and conveyed his condolences.

Dendias attended the Phanar Greek Patriarchate ceremony in Istanbul, and prayed for those who lost their lives in the earthquake and train accident.

In 1999, after the Golcuk-Athens earthquake, mutual assistance took its place in Turkish-Greek relations under the name of “earthquake diplomacy”, leaving the place of tension for cooperation.

The messages of friendship and solidarity given after the earthquakes led to a new assessment of “earthquake diplomacy” in relations.


While the rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey was also noteworthy after the earthquakes of February 6, the bilateral relations, which had long been problematic due to allegations regarding the events of 1915 and the Azerbaijan issue, developed into a new stage with mutual special appointment. representative.

After the earthquake, which was described as the catastrophe of the century, relations between the two countries entered a different stage after the support and aid provided by Armenia to Turkey, while the President of Armenia, Vagin Khachaturian, said on Twitter: “I offer my heartfelt condolences.” He used the phrase.

The speaker of the Armenian National Assembly, Alen Simonyan, said on Twitter: “We are saddened by the terrible news of the devastating earthquake in Turkey. My condolences to the families and relatives of those who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery for the injured.” The statement was made.

During a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan one day after the earthquake, Pashinyan conveyed his condolences to those who lost their lives in the quake and wished the injured a recovery.

The border gate with Armenia was opened after 35 years

After the disaster, one of the most important positive steps in the relations between the two countries was the use of the Alikan border gate, which has been closed for 35 years. The country’s delegation, with 5 trucks of relief materials prepared in Armenia for the disaster area, arrived at the Alikan Bridge on the border on February 11.

Here, Igdir Province Disaster and Emergency Management Director Burhan Çulu and the Armenian delegation, welcoming the military officials, moved to the earthquake zone after the official procedures.

The Alikan border gate was last used in the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, and aid collected by the Turkish Red Crescent was passed through here and sent to the stricken areas.

Mutual messages of friendship

Special Representative Rubin Rubinyan made a statement on Azatutation TV channel on February 13 that Armenia sent aid materials to Turkey with the search and rescue team after the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş.

In response to a question about whether there is some criticism in the local public opinion about the aid from Armenia to Turkey, Rubinyan replied that all countries should help each other in facing large-scale disasters, and that the search and rescue team he sent is a correct and natural step.

“As you know, relations between Armenia and Turkey have been very complex and full of problems for 100 years. However, our countries are neighbors and in the face of a humanitarian catastrophe, neighbors should help each other regardless of the current or past state of relations between Armenia and Turkey,” said Ropinyan. He rated it.

Ambassador Serdar Kilic, Turkey’s special envoy to Armenia regarding humanitarian aid, thanked the Special Representative of Armenia Rubin Rubinyan on Twitter. Roupinyan said, “I’m glad to be able to help.” I used this phrase.

Visit from Mirzoyan to Ankara and Adiyaman

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan arrived in Turkey on February 15 and met Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.

Mirzoyan, who held a joint press conference with Cavusoglu, said, “By being in Turkey in these difficult times, we are ready once again to build peace in the region, and in particular, to fully normalize relations with Turkey, establish diplomatic relations and fully open the borders.” between Armenia and Turkey. I would like to reaffirm your will here once again.” gave your message.

Pointing out that Armenia sent a search and rescue team of 28 people to Turkey at the joint press conference, Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that the Armenian team has been working hard in Adiyaman since February 8.

Cavusoglu said, “Armenia extended a hand of friendship to our people at this difficult time, showing solidarity and cooperation.” He stated that Armenia also sent humanitarian aid to Turkey after the Golcuk earthquake in 1999.

After this meeting, Mirzoyan visited Adiyaman, where the second part of the humanitarian aid sent from the land border arrived on February 14.

humanitarian diplomacy

While the Armenian team finished its work in the earthquake zone and returned to its country on February 17, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Armaganyan, the team leader who participated in the search and rescue efforts in Adiyaman, said at the press conference held in the capital. Yerevan, “They treated us very well, they came to thank us for our support and help. From the first moment we got off the plane, we heard only words of gratitude and thanks. He said.

Other members of the team confirmed that they were treated very positively and that they heard words of thanks and appreciation.


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