Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by phone on Friday, Athens and Ankara said – rare such contact for two neighbors at odds over a range of issues.
Mitsotakis and Erdogan addressed ways of handling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the reopening of borders, and the re-establishment of tourist flows, a statement from Mitsotakis’s office said.
“Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Erdogan agreed to keep the bilateral channels of communication open,” it said, a line re-iterated in the statement from the Turkish presidency.
Erdogan’s office also said the two discussed tourism, security, as well as cooperation on economic issues and the fight against COVID-19.
A Greek source with knowledge of the matter said: “The two leaders didn’t discuss high policy matters, but they did agree that tension is relatively high and that channels of communication must be restored.
“There cannot be a de-escalation of tensions if the two sides don’t talk.”
Though NATO partners and neighbors, Greece and Turkey have testy relations and differences on issues as diverse as airspace rights, maritime boundaries, and ethnically-divided Cyprus.