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Greek Prime Minister
George Papandreou met with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the eastern province of Erzurum which will host the 2011 Winter Universiade to begin later this month, Anadolu Agency reported.
The two leaders had a breakfast in the morning and then attended a ceremony to inaugurate Universiade sports complex in the city, ahead of their speeches to Turkish ambassadors around the world who met in Erzurum for their annual gathering.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Papandreou said Turkish and Greek people and governments of the two countries have been exerting efforts for peace and friendship.
He said Turkey and Greece have made a decision to take bold steps, setting aside all prejudices of the past.
"Now, we want to break down the walls of prejudice," Papandreou said. "We must forget the competition of the past. Today, I am optimistic."
Papandreou also said that Turkey and Greece had made significant progress in political and economic cooperation. He said the two countries should make use of the potential in the region and also the potential between Turkey and Greece.
Papandreou added that his country was ready to support Turkey for its candidacy to host 2020 Olympic Games, as Greece, which hosted 2004 Olympics, was experienced in such an organization.
Turkish prime minister has said both Turkey and Greece were exerting efforts to end disputes over the Aegean, adding that the two countries were getting concrete results to that end.
"We are exerting intense efforts to make the Aegean a sea of peace and friendship. And we are making progress. Today I had very fruitful talks with my counterpart George Papandreou. We need build a world in which peace prevailed by overcoming mistakes of the past. We need to leave a heritage of peace and respect," Tayyip Erdogan said.
Erdogan said high level contacts between Turkey and Greece had intensified over the last years, adding that those contacts helped the two countries make achievement in resolving disputes.
"Today's meeting is very important in this sense. I would like to send love and our best regards from Turkey to Greece," Erdogan went on to say.