By Stefanos Evripidou
GREECE AND Turkey have “real differences” over each side’s view of how the Cyprus problem could be solved, it transpired on Friday after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales.
The meeting, requested by Erdogan, lasted 50 minutes. The new Turkish president thanked Samaras for being one of the first foreign leaders to call and congratulate him on his election.
According to Greek public television, Erdogan told the Greek premier: “We are friends and neighbours and we need to strengthen our cooperation for prosperity and stability in the region.”
For his part, Samaras underlined to Erdogan that one should not, through actions and statements, create a climate which poisons bilateral relations. He made specific reference to the infringements and violations in the Aegean and called on Erdogan to fully utilise his influence to avoid tension in the region.
On Cyprus, Samaras said Greece fully supports the initiatives of President Nicos Anastasiades, adding that the peace talks needed further encouragement to proceed.
He reportedly highlighted that UN Security Council decisions need to be implemented in full, and that a solution must be in line with EU laws, reminding Erdogan that the Cyprus Republic has acceded in full to the European Union.
The Greek premier made special reference to recent statements by Erdogan during his visit to the occupied areas, where he spoke of a solution of ‘two founding states’. The Turkish president had also called on Greece to take on its responsibilities as a guarantor power in the peace process.
Samaras argued that such statements undermine the talks and the prospects of a solution.
However, according to reports, Erdogan stuck to his position on two states, triggering a response from Samaras who reiterated that Cyprus is a member state of the EU.
“Well Mr President, we are facing a real problem, a real difference,” Samaras reportedly said.