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Blinken: Resolving Turkish-Greek differences in both parties’ interests

The United States favours and supports the diplomatic resolution of the differences between Ankara and Athens, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said following a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

“I believe that this is in the interest of both peoples, and we hope that this is the path that our friends will follow,” Blinken said on Tuesday, just one day after visiting its Aegean neighbour Türkiye.

Underscoring that both Greece and Türkiye are allies, partners, and friends of the US, he said that after visiting both countries, he has seen interest in both parties in improving bilateral ties.

The atmosphere between Ankara and Athens improved particularly after Greece was one of the first countries to extend condolences and help Türkiye in the wake of the deadly earthquakes on February 6.

Blinken said he witnessed the sincere reception of the Greek aid by the Turkish people and state authorities. He thanked the Greek state and people for their immediate and significant assistance offered to Türkiye.

Blinken, however, added that the problems between Athens and Ankara are long-standing and would take time to resolve.

READ MORE: Greek volunteers rally to help quake victims in Türkiye

Talks with former premier

Dendias, for his part, stressed that Greece’s aid to Türkiye comes out of humanitarian concerns and is not associated with any foreign policy goals.

“It is our obligation to our fellow human beings who are suffering, to help them, and we will continue to do so,” he said.

Dendias also noted that he was the first European foreign minister to visit the areas hit by the quakes, and remarked on their magnitude.

During his visit, Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed that they should not wait for disasters to strike to normalise bilateral relations, Dendias remarked.

Blinken, who arrived in Athens Monday evening following his two-day visit to Türkiye, also met Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye.

On Tuesday, Blinken and Dendias launched the fourth round of the Greek-US Strategic Dialogue.

Before the quakes, Turkish officials had expressed concern about US policy diverging from its traditional balance between Türkiye and Greece, and urged Washington to return to a more even-handed approach.

Türkiye has long sought a fair division of maritime resources based on good-faith dialogue and international law, and has stressed that this is a bilateral issue.

Ankara, Athens should not wait for another quake to mend fences: Türkiye

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