Erdogan, Greek leader begin talks in Turkey to maintain positive momentum

NNA -nbsp;Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis began talks in Ankara on Monday aimed at maintaining the positive momentum achieved in bilateral ties in recent months despite lingering problems.

Turkey and Greece, NATO allies and historic foes, have long been at odds over issues including maritime boundaries,nbsp;energynbsp;resources in the eastern Mediterranean, flights over the Aegean Sea, and ethnically splitnbsp;Cyprus.

After years of tensions that brought the two to the brink of conflict, they have started taking high-profile steps to improve ties, especially since both leaders were re-elected last year.

Erdogan hosted Mitsotakis at the presidential palace in Ankara, state broadcaster TRT said. The two were scheduled to hold a joint press conference afterwards.

A Turkish diplomatic source said Erdogan and Mitsotakis would discuss issues from technology, tourism and economic ties to counter-terrorism and migration, adding that a quot;Joint Business Councilquot; would also be formed to bring together Turkish and Greek business people.

Erdogan visited Athens last December and the two countries signed the quot;Declaration of Athensquot; aimed at setting the base for a roadmap to rebooting relations.

They agreed to boost trade, keep communication channels open, carry out military confidence-building measures to reduce tensions, and work on problems that have kept them apart.

quot;Since the (December) visit, in accordance with the meaning and spirit of the Declaration, by mutually building confidence, the two parties have aimed to create an atmosphere to allow for existing issues to be tackled in the appropriate way,quot; the diplomatic source said. — Reuters