Turkish and Greek premiers have strong will to start a new era - Papandreou
The Greek premier said on Friday that prime ministers of Turkey and Greece had a strong will to initiate a new era in relations between their countries, Anadolu Agency reported.
Appearing at a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in eastern Erzurum province, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said it was now time for Turkey and Greece to leave their problems in the past.
Pointing to the serious steps taken to that end, Papandreou said the current atmosphere in relations was positive, moderate and warm.
Giving a message to Turkish Cypriots, the Greek premier said his country wanted the two Cypriot communities to live together peacefully within the framework of a fair and lasting solution.
"As Turkey and Greece, we will take new steps for the solution of the Cyprus issue and we will encourage the parties," he said.
Papandreou noted that illegal migration, regional issues and Turkey's EU membership process had been on the agenda of his meeting with Erdogan today.
Expressing Greece's support for Turkey's EU bid, Papandreou said his country wanted Turkey's negotiation process to proceed.
Replying to a question on Greece's plan to build a fence along its border with Turkey, Papandreou said slave trade was the main reason for such a plan.
He said people escaping from wars in their home countries tried to sneak into Europe via Turkey and Greece.
Papandreou noted that Turkey and Greece cooperated closely on the matter, adding he had held fruitful talks with Erdogan on such issue as well.
Describing the issue as a common problem for Turkey and Greece, Papandreou said Greece negotiated with Turkey every measure it took on the matter.
Pointing to the illegal migrants using the Maritsa river as a passage corridor, Papandreou said Greece wanted to build technical barriers in the region.
The prime minister said Erdogan had expressed the necessity for liberalization of visas between Turkey and Greece during today's meeting, adding Greece would also support such an implementation for the improvement of economic ties between the two countries.