Greece says aiming to smooth out ‘serious differences’ with Turkey

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (right) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu (left) hold a press conference after their meeting in Athens, on May 31, 2021. (ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP)

ATHENS – Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias pledged on Monday to work to overcome the "serious differences" that remain with Turkey following a meeting with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu which aimed to reset relations after a public spat between the two last month.

Dendias said the talks with Cavusoglu offered the chance to plan a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit.

"We are fully aware of the different, and in some very serious issues he diametrically opposed positions, that we have," he said in a brief statement following the meeting with Cavusoglu.

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"The purpose of today's meeting was to attempt an initial negotiation process and if possible, a gradual normalization of the situation over time."

The two countries, both members of the NATO alliance, are at odds over issues ranging from competing maritime territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean to the status of Cyprus and the treatment of migrant boats.