Feuds Aside, Greek Foreign Chief Sees Turkey’s Deadly Earthquake Scenes

February 13, 2023

ATHENS – The deadly earthquake in Turkey that claimed some 30,000 lives and many people unaccounted for has brought a temporary truce in provocations and brought Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to the scene to show support.

Dendias was met with a warm embrace by his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to footage on Greece’s state-run ERT TV, before they boarded helicopters to quake-hit regions, setting their differences aside.

Cavusoglu had been leading President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s charge against Greece in ramping up tensions and threatening an invasion, and demands that Greece remove troops from Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast.

The earthquake ended all that, for now, with worries already emerging how long the rapprochement would last and if Erdogan would revert to assailing Greece again if his government’s handling of the disaster weakens his support ahead of crucial May 14 elections there.

“I would like to convey to the Turkish leadership and the Turkish people the warmest condolences of the Mitsotakis government and the entire Greek people for the losses after the two devastating earthquakes,” Dendias said during a press conference with Cavusoglu in Antakya, referring to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said The Voice of America (VOA.)


Dendias’ visit was the first by European minister to Turkey since the earthquake, Erdogan’s authoritarian government having lessened the country’s chances of getting into the European Union, a process that began in 2005.

“This is showing the solidarity of Greek people with Turkey and the Turkish population. Greece was one of the first countries to call and propose help to Turkey after the earthquake,” Cavusoglu added, stepping away from his frequent belligerence against Greece.

As they did in 1999, when an earthquake hit Turkey – and then Greece – the countries didn’t let their feuds get in the way of trying to help each other although Erdogan, who came to power after the quake two decades earlier, is seeing criticism over the aftermath of this earthquake.

Cavusoglu recalled mutual aid when quakes struck Turkey and Greece in 1999, when he said at the time that “We don’t have to wait for another earthquake for developing our relations,” VOA noted.

“I said this as a simple citizen back then, but I think the same today as Turkey’s foreign minister,” he said. “I hope we will make efforts for finding a solution to our disagreements with dialogue in a sincere way,” he added.

Dendias also said that “We do not need to wait for natural disasters to improve our relations”, while adding that Greece’s effort to help Turkey would continue.

The Greek government has so far sent 80 tons of medical and first aid equipment as well as rescuers that along with other European rescuers have saved 205 people, Dendias also said of efforts.


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