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Politics

Amid Tension, Turkey’s Foreign Chief Coming to Athens for Talks

ATHENS – With confidence-building measures and exploratory talks stalled, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will come to Greece's capital May 31. 

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on May 31 in Athens, government sources confirmed on Wednesday.

Dendias-Cavusoglu meeting will focus on bilateral relations and on the regional and international developments, according to a foreign ministry announcement on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources said that Dendias will host an unofficial dinner for Cavusoglu on Sunday.

Before meeting with Dendias, the Turkish foreign minister is expected to pay a private visit to the region of Thrace.

The meeting could pave the way for a sit-down between Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a June NATO meeting.

The newspaper said that besides disputed claims to the seas between the countries that the two foreign chiefs will talk about what Turkey called an alleged “attempt to impose a fictitious national identity” on the country’s Muslim minority in Thrace, which Turkey claims is Turkish because they are Turks.

The report came as Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP),  accusing Mitsotakis of supposedly misidentifying “Turkish children as Greek children” during a video conference with the pupils of a kindergarten in Pachni, a Pomak village in the regional unit of Xanthi, on May 18.

“Mitsotakis messed up; he was caught up in a delirium,” Bahceli told deputies of his party. “These are Turkish children. Pasavik is not a Pomak village,” he said, while urging the European Parliament to condemn what he described as Greece’s “policy of (forced) assimilation and fascism.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry then issued a statement urging Greece to “stop denying the Turkish national identity of its compatriots in the region and to respect the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.”

While all that is bubbling up, another round of the confidence building measures which have brought no confidence will take place between Greek and Turkish defense ministries officials in a video conference.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy & Openness Kostas Fragogiannis will meet with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal in Kavala on Saturday.

Their meeting is being held in the context of promoting a positive agenda in the economic and trade sectors, as discussed by the Greek and Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministers in Ankara on April 15.

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