Greek PM Tsipras Says “Historic Steps” Needed in Turkish Relations

Greek PM Tsipras Says “Historic Steps” Needed in Turkish Relations

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday said conditions need to be created to facilitate “historic steps” in Greek-Turkish relations. His remarks come one day before he makes an official visit to Ankara and Istanbul.

“The conditions must be created in Greek-Turkish relations for historic steps to take place,” Tsipras said in an exclusive interview with Turkey’s Anadolu press agency.

Tsipras, who currently also holds the post of foreign minister, will make an official visit to Turkey on Feb. 5-6 upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.

The visit will address all areas of bilateral relations and relevant regional and international developments, seeking to take steps to improve cooperation, the statement added.

After meeting with Erdogan and government officials in Ankara, Tsipras will travel to Istanbul to meet the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Tsipras said Monday that his relationship with Erdogan is based on “respect, honesty and directness,” although it was “challenged in very difficult moments.”

“But it allowed us to consolidate channels of communication on many levels, to overcome obstacles and to be able, today, to speak of a positive agenda,” Tsipras told journalists from the Anadolu press agency.