Turkey, Greece agree refugee crisis concerns all of Europe

Turkish foreign minister and Greek counterpart agree in Athens that refugee issue concerns entire world, especially Europe

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens, Greece on March 4, 2016.

The refugee crisis is not just a problem for Turkey and Greece, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during his official visit to Athens on Friday.

Addressing a joint press conference alongside his Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, following their meeting at the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry, Cavusoglu said that the impact of the refugee crisis on Turkey and Greece has been huge.

“The situation in Syria and Iraq has enormous humanitarian consequences for Greece and Turkey." the Turkish foreign minister said.

Kotzias said “We both agreed that the refugee/migrant issue is a global one that concerns all of Europe.”

Hosting close to 2.7 million refugees, the highest number in the world, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources to support them.

Turkey has also become a major transit country for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe through the Aegean.

The two ministers exchanged views on the refugee crisis during their meeting, which came ahead of the extraordinary EU summit to be held in Brussels on Monday.

The two sides also reviewed bilateral relations ahead of the Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in Izmir, where the prime ministers of both countries were due to meet.

“Greece is Turkey’s neighbour,” Cavusoglu said.

“Turkey wants to cooperate with Greece; we should take advantage of every chance in order to deepen the current framework of cooperation,” he added.

Kotzias appreciated the frank and open discussions with his Turkish counterpart.

“We are working on developing the Greek-Turkish relations on the basis of good neighbourly relations and respect for the international law,” he said.

“We also discussed cooperation between the two countries in the operational NATO plan in order to tackle the refugee issue,” he added.

The Turkish foreign minister expressed his gratitude for having a discussion with his Greek counterpart, saying Kotzias is “someone I truly appreciate and refer to him as friend.”

“We both agree, that it is not just enough to sign agreements but we must also implement these agreements in order to deepen our bilateral relations,” Cavusoglu said.

"We also spoke of projects that will further help our bilateral relations; the Izmir-Thessaloniki link, in addition to the TAP and TANAP projects," the Turkish minister added.

TRTWorld, AA