Türkiye and Greece should not wait for another earthquake to mend the fences, the Turkish foreign minister has said.
Addressing reporters with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in the quake-hit Hatay province in southern Türkiye on Sunday, Mevlut Cavusoglu hailed Greece’s support in the wake of devastating earthquakes earlier this week.
“The fact that Nikos Dendias is here with us today shows the solidarity of the Greek people with Türkiye and the Turkish nation,” Cavusoglu said.
“Good neighbourly relations are seen during such challenging times.”
He recalled the 1999 Marmara earthquake in Türkiye and said Greece also experienced earthquakes then only a month after Türkiye.
“At that time, first Greece rushed to help us, then Türkiye rushed to help Greece,” Cavusoglu said, as he cited a news story from the news magazine Time then.
Cavusoglu had sent a letter to Time as an ordinary Turkish citizen regarding the story on Türkiye-Greece relations.
“Solidarity at difficult ties is important but we must not wait for another earthquake to develop relations,” he had said.
“I, then, said that as a simple Turkish citizen. Today, as Türkiye’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, I share the same opinion,” he affirmed.
Cavusoglu urged “sincere” dialogue to overcome differences in opinions.
The Turkish foreign minister also expressed gratitude to Dendias, his government and all Greek people for the “support given during such difficult times.”
For his part, Dendias pledged continued support by Greece to earthquake-hit Türkiye.
“We (Greece) will continue to do our best to overcome difficult times (in Türkiye), both at the bilateral and EU level,” he said.
The top Greek diplomat echoed Cavusoglu, saying the two countries should not wait for another earthquake to improve relations.
The 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude quakes, centred in Kahramanmaras, affected more than 13 million people across 10 provinces, including Hatay, Gaziantep, Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.
Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, felt the strong tremors that struck the country in the space of less than 10 hours.