Greece and Turkey have more things in common than differences, President Prokopios Pavlopoulos said during an official dinner he hosted in honour of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Mansion.
Pavlopoulos hailed the historic visit, the first of a sitting Turkish president in 65 years, saying it is up to the two countries to use it to start a new era in bilateral relations.
"I welcome you today with great pleasure to hospitable Athens. This visit comes 65 years after the previous one. A visit that can and must acquire the historical dimensions appropriate to the future and prospect of our peoples. What unites us is more than what divides us," he said. "It is in our hand to make this visit historic and mark the beginning of a new era," he added.
Pavlopoulos reiterated Greece's commitment to helping Turkey in its European path. "We Greeks want you to join the big EU family because that is where the future of the Turkish people lies. The European orientation fits the Turkish people," he said, adding that Greece is one of the member-states that really believe on Turkey’s European prospects.
Taking the podium, Erdogan said the aim of his visit was to build a new future for bilateral relations with "unity, coexistence and solidarity."
"In my country live more than 100,000 Greeks. Similarly, we have our fellow nationals in Greece. Of course this cultural coexistence has shown us that we can live side by side," he said, adding that if we learn from the past we will build a different future.
"The two peoples have centuries of history," he continued, adding that in these difficult times for the region, cooperation is even more important.
Erdogan also referred to opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation in several fields, such as energy, adding that investors from Greece and Turkey may also cooperate to invest in third countries.