Tsipras: “Greece and Turkey Will Jointly Solve the Problem of the Refugee Crisis”

Source: Kathimerini

Source: Kathimerini

Just a few hours after 16-hour negotiations in Brussels, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras met in Izmir as part of the latest High-Level Cooperation Council between the two sides.

The two leaders signed six agreements on Tuesday, with the refugee crisis being high on the agenda. The core agreement signed was a bilateral deal for migrants ineligible for international protection to be readmitted to Turkey after crossing into Greece.

The need for Greece and Turkey to jointly solve the problem of the refugee crisis was highlighted from Izmir by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Ahmet Davutoğlu, Tsipras stressed that “Greece and Turkey will continue to offer hospitality to the persecuted”, while also noting that “it is a shame what is happening in the Aegean sea.”

“We’re here to solve a problem on our values, we are determined to work together to solve, one would not impose our solution, we know how the problem should be solved,” the Prime Minister stated.

He also reiterated that “Greece and Turkey are not the causes of the problems of central Europe, but both countries are hosting large numbers of refugees…Greece and Turkey will continue to provide humanity to the persecuted, but will not accept a permanent stay of all these people,” added the prime minister.

The Greek Prime Minister called for substantial cooperation between Greece and Turkey “to effectively address refugee crisis in the Aegean.”

“We want to be the countries that create a climate of peace and tranquility in the surrounding area,” he said.

Tsipras expressed once again his concerns over violations of Greek airspace by Turkish aircrafts, stressing that the increase in violations by the Turkish side is not consistent with the good climate in Greek-Turkish relations.

Ahmet Davutoğlu said that “Greece and Turkey share the refugee problem”, stressing that Greece has also been adversely affected by this crisis.

Aside from the agreement on the refugee crisis the two Prime Ministers signed, five other agreements dealing with economic and trade issues were addressed.

The launch of an air route between Athens and Ankara was additionally announced, and the two prime ministers signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the port of Izmir and the port of Thessaloniki.

The construction of a high-speed railway line linking Igoumenitsa with Istanbul, the construction of flood protection works in Evros river and the construction of a second bridge on the Kipoi (Greek – Turkish borders) were also discussed.

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