After the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş and the train accident that occurred in Greece, Turkey and Greece entered a new process in which solidarity emerged in bilateral relations, paving the way for mutual support on international platforms.
Although there are a number of problems between the two countries, which are linked to each other in the Aegean Sea and directly affect Turkey’s basic rights and interests, bilateral relations, especially in 2020, when tensions have escalated, have recently taken on a new face. Where messages of mutual friendship and solidarity were sent.
The earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, which occurred in Turkey on February 6, have brought the ongoing relations between the two countries to a point of solidarity in troubled times.
After the first earthquake in Kahramanmaraş, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that Greece would mobilize its resources to help Turkey.
On the same day, the search and rescue team of the Greek Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK) arrived in Turkey with a C-130 aircraft of the Hellenic Armed Forces. The team, later with the other team from Thessaloniki, rescued 5 people from the rubble in Turkey.
The Greek people also organized various campaigns to support the earthquake victims. Many private and public institutions began working to send relief materials to earthquake victims immediately after the earthquake.
On the third day of the earthquake, on the instructions of Mitsotakis and on the initiative of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, aid, including tents, stretchers, sanitary kits and blankets, was sent from Athens to Turkey on an Aegean Airlines plane.
The Confederation of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) provided nearly 1.5 tons of relief items collected by the Greek people to the earthquake victims as part of the campaign launched at the initiative of the people.
Communication channels have reopened
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Greek President Katerina Sakelaropoulou called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the earthquakes and conveyed their condolences.
Thus, the silence that prevailed for a long time at the level of leaders was broken.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who was on a trip to Latin America at the time of the earthquake, went directly to Turkey upon his return and conducted investigations in the earthquake area with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The joint statement read the message: “Let’s not wait for an earthquake or any disaster to improve relations.”
A gesture from Ankara after the train accident in Greece
After the train accident in Greece on the night of February 28, messages of support poured in from Turkey.
President Erdoğan sent a telegram of condolences to Sakylaropoulou and Mikotakis; Foreign Minister Cavusoglu called his counterpart Dendias and conveyed his condolences.
The Turkish and Greek authorities took measures after they learned that Dimitrios Nalpantis, the father of engineer Nikos Nalpantis, who lost his life in the accident, had been imprisoned in Turkey.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag agreed to transfer Demetrius Nalbantis, who was sentenced to Tekirdag prison, to a prison in his country, within the scope of the agreement between Turkey and Greece regarding the transfer of convicts. Thus, Nalbantis was able to attend his son’s funeral.
Mutual support step on the international platform
Dendias and Cavusoglu decided that Turkey and Greece should support each other in running in international forums when they were in Brussels on March 20 for an international donors’ conference.
According to the decision taken during the meeting, which was held in a positive atmosphere, it was agreed that Turkey would support Greece’s candidacy for membership of the interim UN Security Council in the period 2025-2026, and that Greece would support Turkey’s candidacy for membership in the UN Security Council. Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The positive agenda is expanding
Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Burak Aksapar met with his Greek counterpart Konstantinos Frangoyannis in Ankara on March 22 in the fourth round of the joint action plan between the two countries within the scope of the “positive agenda”.
At the meeting, the framework was put in place to finalize relevant agreements that could be signed during the next high-level meeting.
Within the scope of the meeting, a detailed update on the progress of 25 topics such as developing cooperation in the fields of entrepreneurship, tourism, energy, transportation, communications, maritime, information and communication technology, education and social security was made. , health and the environment, included in the list of “positive agenda”.
While many of the items were successful, satisfactory progress was made on some of the others on the list.
Frangoiannis stated that the Positive Agenda is a dynamic collaboration and drew attention to the fact that both Turkish and Greek people can see the positive results of this in everyday life.
Friendship frames from the earthquake zone
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also hosted his Greek counterpart Nikos Panayotopoulos in Hatay on Tuesday.
Akar Panayotopoulos was met at the airport. The two ministers first made observations of the city by helicopter, and then had a holographic meeting.
The two ministers visited Hatay Disaster Coordination Center, IGA Container City and Kocaeli Hospital of the Ministry of Health, and delivered messages of friendship at the joint press conference.
“We sincerely hope that the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea will now become a sea of friendship,” said Akar, who wished the current positive and constructive atmosphere to continue and that the doors of dialogue would be open. He said.
Panayotopoulos said, “Similar tragedies show us how small the scale of conflicts and problems between countries based on natural disasters.” He said.
Greek Minister of Immigration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis, who came to Hatay with Panayotopoulos, also met with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Chatakli.
The main message that remained from the contacts in the earthquake zone was the desire for “continued dialogue and a positive atmosphere”.
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