Greek and Turkish leaders to meet privately at NATO summit

Greek PM A. Samaras and Turkish President R. T. Erdogan’s unofficial meeting is expected to focus on the Cyprus dispute

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and newly-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit at Newport’s Celtic Manor in Wales taking place on Thursday and Friday. The meeting is reportedly being held following a request by Erdogan, however the climate is expected to be tense after the Turkish President’s visit to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus. Both Athens and Nicosia had been disappointed by Erdogan’s calls for a two-state solution on the divided island on Monday.

The Greek and Turkish leader are expected to discuss a solution to the long-standing Cyprus dispute following Erdogan’s visit to the occupied part of the island. Following this visit, Samaras had a lengthy telephone conversation with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades where they exchanged views on the ongoing UN-led talks for a Cyprus solution and agreed on issues that the Greek leader would put forward in Wales in meetings with a number of leaders, including Erdogan.

It should be noted that during his visit to Cyprus, Erdogan had also indicated that the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary on the island of Hybeliada in Istanbul could be opened after its closure in 1971. He said that a condition for this would be the improvement of religious affairs of the Muslim community in Western Thrace.

The NATO summit is focused on developments in the Ukraine, Middle East and Afghanistan. Greece’s Prime Minister had discussed the NATO agenda during a meeting with Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday.