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Closer ties with Turkey

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis yesterday stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to resolve longstanding disputes between Greece and Turkey, during the second day of his landmark official visit to Ankara. Delivering a speech at Ankara’s Bilkent University, one of the leading research universities in Turkey, the premier said “I know very well that the road ahead of us is long and difficult. But the cost of not moving forward, and the lost benefit from not forging ahead, will be immense. And this, precisely, is the strongest incentive for keeping our eyes turned to the future,” Karamanlis continued.  “We have a lot to gain by moving ahead together. We have even more to lose by following the path of tension and enmity.” As for Greece, the prime minister said, “I can assure you that our commitment is to move forward.” Continue reading

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Karamanlis in Ankara: “Peace requires the strength to endure it”

(ANA-MPA) Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continued his ground-breaking trip to Ankara on Thursday at the head of a high-ranking Greek delegation, which was received at the presidential mansion by Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Hours earlier the Greek premier laid a wreath at the Ataturk Mausoleum (Anitkabir) in the Turkish capital.In a dedication in the visitors’ book at the mausoleum, Karamanlis wrote: “Kemal Ataturk with Eleftherios Venizelos had the political courage, volition and foresight not to allow conflicts and tragedies of the past to become obstacles to efforts at building a better future of peace and cooperation, towards the benefit of both our peoples.” Continue reading

Karamanlis: A clear message to Turkey

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Tuesday emphasised his government’s desire for better relations between Greece and Turkey, during an interview given to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, one day before the start of his official visit to Ankara.
“I will be the first Greek prime minister to visit Turkey after an interval of 48 years. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I will have an opportunity to focus on Greek-Turkish relations and their future,” he said. 
Underscoring that the Greek government was doing everything in its power to improve relations, he also repeated Athens’ support for Turkey’s European prospects and said the time was right for action to be taken in order to boost bilateral ties. During the interview, Karamanlis pointed to the major progress made in bilateral trade and investments and noted that the volume of trade between the two countries had risen to US $3 billion in 2007 from US $200 million in 1999.He also listed positive developments in tourism between the two countries and the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, which was the result of bilateral cooperation.
At the same time, he pointed to serious bilateral problems that were still outstanding and needed a resolution, such as finding a viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. Continue reading