Greek prime minister in Turkey for historic visit
( dpa ) - Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Ankara on Wednesday on an historic three-day visit, the first official trip to Turkey by a Greek prime minister in nearly 50 years.
Accompanied by Greek Foreign Minister Theodora Bakoyannis, Karamanlis was greeted by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan at Ankara's Esenboga Airport before heading into the Turkish capital for talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Traditional rivals, the two countries almost went to war in 1997 after a dispute over sovereignty of a small Aegean islet. Turkey and Greece have enjoyed warmer relations in recent years, especially after twin earthquakes in 1999, and Greece today publicly supports Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
Tensions remain, however, and on the agenda of Karmanlis' meetings with Erdogan were to be sensitive issues such as territorial rights in the Aegean, the divided eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus and the rights of the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey.
No substantive breakthroughs were expected to be announced but Turkish commentators said the visit was a positive development in relations between the two countries.
"Even if nothing can be achieved ... the fact that such a trip has taken place will be of great importance," commentator Yusuf Kanli wrote in the Turkish Daily News.
The last Greek prime minister to officially visit Turkey was Karamanlis' uncle, Konstantinos, in 1959.
After his meeting with Erdogan on Wednesday Karamanlis was scheduled to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Thursday before flying to Istanbul for a meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I.