Greek PM urges more effort on Turkey ties

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has called on his Turkish counterpart to revive efforts to improve ties between the two long-standing rival countries.

Papandreou wrote to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he was “encouraged by the willingness” of the two sides to improve bilateral relations in recent years.

The letter was in response to one sent by Erdogan in November, and included an invitation to the Turkish premier to make an official visit to Greece.

Papandreou said he hoped for a revival of efforts to “establish a more lasting and productive relationship between the two countries, and a lasting peace”.

He called on Turkey to respect Athens’ sovereignty in the Aegean Sea and stop violating Greek airspace.

Last week the Greek premier said he would invite Erdogan to come to Athens to discuss Ankara’s bid to join the European Union and the question of reunifying Cyprus.

Cyprus has been split since Turkey occupied its northern third in 1974 in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

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