Turkey, Greece move to solve Aegean dispute

10:03, January 08, 2011      

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday both Turkey and Greece were exerting efforts to end disputes over the Aegean sea, local media reported.

"We are exerting intense efforts to make the Aegean a sea of peace and friendship. And we are making progress," Erdogan was quoted by the semi-official Anatolia news agency as saying at an inauguration ceremony of facilities for the 25th World University Winter Games slated for late this month in east Turkey's Erzurum Province.

Visiting Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he and Erdogan had worked together to improve the Turkish-Greek relationship, hailing the great potential for the two countries' cooperation.

"We should forget the past's rivalry and prejudices," said Papandreou at the ceremony.

Turkey and Greece have been traditional rivals in the eastern Mediterranean. The two NATO countries came close to war due to a dispute over an uninhabited island in the Aegean Sea in 1996.

However, Turkish government's "zero problem" policy with its neighbors has led to a relatively peaceful environment in relations since 2002, when the AK Party came into rule. The two countries have been discussing the dispute on Aegean in exploratory talks.

The Greek prime minister's visit came amid debates over Athens' plans to block part of its border with Turkey to stem illegal immigration into the European Union.

Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News on Friday quoted an unnamed Greek diplomat as saying the measure was not against Turkey or its people.

Source: Xinhua
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