With the governments in Turkey and Greece receiving new mandates in elections the two countries agreed in New York over the weekend to “further enhance” their relations.
Foreign Minister and Chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan met Sunday with his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis at the Turkish House in New York City.
After the meeting, Babacan and Bakoyannis held a joint appearance at a press conference promising to open a new chapter in relations.
“We are ministers of the two governments which both won consecutive terms and we have a new horizon ahead of us, there is a strong task that our two people assigned on us to develop relations between the two countries and we have decided today to work together to further enhance our relations in every field,” Babacan told reporters.
Babacan said that Turkey’s EU membership bid was also taken up during the meeting, adding that Turkey and Greece would work on the issue together.
While Babacan stressed that Turkey’s reform process will continue without any interruption, Bakoyianni said that she was deeply impressed with the reforms in Turkey.
Bakoyannis said they would try to give a new momentum to the Turkish-Greek relations.
Bakoyiannis invited Babacan to Athens prior to Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ upcoming visit to Turkey. Certain dates have not yet been set for the visits.
Bakoyiannis offered her condolences to Babacan who lost his cousin in a counter-terror operation in southeast Turkey. She stressed that they are against all kinds of acts of terrorism and ready to do their utmost to assist Turkey.
Bakoyannis said in her part that they would try to give a new momentum to the Turkish-Greek relations.
After his meeting with Bakoyannis, Babacan met Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.
Stoere said that Norway wants to cooperate with Turkey in many areas. During his meeting with Babacan, Stoere said that they appreciate Turkey’s views over a number of regional issues.
He said that Norway is in favor of further developing its cooperation with Turkey especially in Afghanistan, NATO and the Middle East.
Stoere extended Norway’s support to Turkey’s EU membership bid.
The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was also high on agenda of the meeting. Stoere said that Turkey and Norway, as two oldest allies of NATO, can cooperate to this end under the light of new developments.
Babacan also gave information about the fight against terrorism and the terrorist organization PKK, and asked support of Norway for the efforts to eradicate the financial sources of terrorism. Stoere pledged to provide all kinds of assistance to Turkey.
Earlier Babacan participated Sunday at a high-level meeting on Afghanistan at UN headquarters.
Diplomatic sources said Babacan told his counterparts at the behind-doors meeting about military and security assistance that Turkey has been extending to Afghanistan and its efforts to re-build the war-torn country.
Babacan stressed that Turkey’s support to Afghanistan in military and security fields would continue, adding that Afghan army and police needed more training.
Babacan also separately met with Afghan Foreign Minister Rengin Dadfar Spanta.
The New Anatolian / AnkaraÂŠ