Euractiv — The EU official told EURACTIV on Thursday 7 December that the first visit by a Turkish leader to Greece in 65 years demonstrates the determination of both sides to move forward in their bilateral relations and strength good neighbourly relations.
The European Union has made it clear that all candidate countries must respect international treaties, the EU official said in reference to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said in Athens that a 1923 border deal between Turkey and Greece should be updated.
“It is important that the European Union and Turkey keep the dialogue and direct contact,” the official said but cautioned:
“Our expectations regarding all candidate countries with respect to the rule of law, human rights, good neighbourly relations and commitment to the international law and treaties are clear to everyone,” the official replied when asked about Erdoğan’s remarks.
During Thursday’s visit, President Erdoğan questioned the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which among other things set the boundaries between the two countries.
During his meeting with the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Erdoğan reiterated that there were some “outstanding issues in the Treaty of Lausanne, which are not properly understood”.
However, Pavlopouols replied that “the Treaty of Lausanne is non-negotiable”
The Turkish leader also referred to the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup attempt in Turkey. The Greek courts decided that the soldiers should not be extradited to Ankara.
The Greek government said the decision was made by an independent judiciary, an argument that Erdogan dismissed saying that if such cases were left to justice “there would be no effect”.
“Justice does not care so much,” Erdoğan added, underlining that the Turkish justice is “superior to any European state”.