Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras arrived in Turkey on an official visit.
On his arrival in Istanbul, he was met by Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis and Istanbul Mayor Huseyn Avni Mutlu.
It is expected that during the one-day visit, Samaras will meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.
Regarding Antonis Samaras’s visit, Erdogan said the delegations were set to discuss a number of issues, such as tourism, energy, telecommunications and defense while also signing new agreements in several of these areas. Erdogan said they had found the opportunity to talk about many of these issues with Samaras in their meeting in Doha in late January and they would make new steps.
The country’s two foreign ministers, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Ahmet Davutoglu held a preparatory meeting on Sunday. It is expected that as many as 20 bilateral agreements will be signed on Monday.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül received Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras today at his residence in Tarabya in Istanbul.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and EU Minister Egemen Bağış were also present at the meeting, which lasted around half an hour.
Later, Samaras held talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in an hour-long closed-door meeting at the Prime Ministry.
Samaras came to Turkey to attend a Turkey-Greece Business Forum.
Buoyed by the findings of a Norwegian petroleum company that pointed to the existence of fuel deposits in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, Samaras is expected to broach the issue of territorial waters during talks with Erdogan.
Ankara is opposed to Greece exploring for oil and gas in the Aegean until a dispute over the delineation of the continental shelf has been resolved. Samaras has accused Ankara of invoking international law to defend its rights without having ratified that law though he insists that Greece wants to settle its differences with Turkey peacefully.
Other issues expected to be discussed during the second session of the Greek-Turkish High Level Cooperation Council are Erdogan’s objection to the Greek state’s appointment of muftis for the Muslim minority in Thrace, northern Greece, and stalled plans for the construction of a state mosque in Athens.
Samaras will be accompanied by several officials including Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias.
Erdogan stated that the total foreign trade volume between the two countries by the end of 2012 was 5 billion USD, 3.5 billion USD of which was Greece’s exports and 1.5 billion USD was the amount of Turkey’s exports, adding that they were moving forward, protecting the rights of the neighbor and with solidarity.
Erdodan said their meeting with Samaras in Turkey would be one of the most important steps on bilateral relations of Turkey and Greece.