The Lausanne Treaty is the cornerstone of Greek-Turkish relations, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during joint statements with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, after their meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens.
Tsipras underlined the importance of enhancing channels of communication between the two countries, noting that Erdogan's visit to Greece was historic, as was the initiative taken by President Prokopios Pavlopoulos to invite him.
The Greek government was aware of the problems that divide Greece and Turkey, he added, as some undermined these relations every day.
Tsipras stressed the need to end Turkish airspace violations in the Aegean, adding that retaining Turkey's casus belli threat against Greece (if the latter should choose to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles) is inconsistent with cultivating a good climate between the two countries.
"We spoke openly with the Turkish President in our effort not to hide behind disagreements. We wanted to identify them but to discard misunderstandings and clarify what each of us means. We talked about tension in the Aegean. I have stressed that Turkish air space violations must be terminated. The increased violations of Greek airspace and especially the dogfights in the Aegean Sea are a danger to our relations and, above all, a danger to our pilots," he said.
On his side, Erdogan said he's pleased to visit the country as a head of state and reiterated his view that the Lausanne Treaty needs "revisions".
"I am happy that after 65 years I am making an official visit as the President of the Republic of Turkey to Greece. This place is familiar to me, I visited as a Prime Minister, but it is the first time I visit as President of the Republic," he said in his opening remarks. "The steps we have made are important ?we also raised issues such as the High-Level Greek-Turkish Cooperation Council which was held under my own chairmanship," he added.
"The Lausanne Treaty was signed by 11 countries. Are there only provisions for the Aegean in the treaty? Isn't there anything about the status of the two minorities? In western Thrace we have a Muslim minority and we believe there can be new thoughts on this issue," he said.