ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said images of a Greek rescue squad pulling survivors out of the rubble of Turkey’s deadly earthquake, including a 7-year-old girl were moving and showed the true spirit of their peoples.
The disaster struck as relations were taut over Turkish provocations and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats of invading Greece, the earthquake that killed more than 5,000 seeing differences set aside for now.
Greece sent teams to aid Turkey, just as it did in that country’s earthquake in 1999 and Mitsotakis noted the experience of Greek rescue squads who were sent almost immediately in the aftermath and got to work looking for people trapped.
He told CNN that while the politicians may be wrangling in a dispute over the seas and other issues that the Greek and Turkish people, whose culture shares so much, are friends.
The tragedy also got Erdogan to speak with Mitsotakis again after breaking off relations when the Greek leader, addressing the US Congress in the spring of 2022, asked them to block President Joe Biden’s plan to sell Turkey more F-16 fighters.
“The Greek and Turkish peoples are friends. We may have our political differences, but at the end of the day we have nothing to fight about with the Turkish people,” he told the news site.
He also pointed out the video images of two rescuers, a Greek and a Turk, saving together a 7-year-old girl in Hatay, southwestern Türkiye. “These are very powerful images that, at the end of the day, build bridges between our peoples,” he said.