ATHENS – They’re quarreling over who has the rights to the Aegean and Mediterranean for energy research, over the skies between them, and tension has often nearly reached a boiling point but Turkey and Greece are still doing business.
Even Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asking for European Union sanctions sanctions against Turkish provocations, and Turkish officials warning that if Greece extends its maritime limits from 6 to 12 miles it would be a cause for war has’t cut into trade ties.
The trade turnover in 2021, during another COVID-19 pandemic year, hit a new high, jumping as much as 69.2 percent to reach $5.2 billion, data compiled by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said, reported Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.
Exports to Greece jumped 73.3 percent year-over-year, enabling Turkey to register a trade surplus of approximately $1 billion and the business edge, showing how critical it is even during talk of conflict and other differences.
Turkish-Greek Chamber of Commerce data showed Greece’s imports from Turkey increased by 46 percent in 2021, reaching 2.3 billion euros (more than $2.36 billion,) making Turkey the 8th biggest supplier for Greece.
While buying more Turkish products than sending Greek products, the trade for Greece was some 1.8 billion euros ($2.06 billion,) a jump of 39 percent with businesses staying above the political fray between the countries.
Before his official visit to Greece in May 2021, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, “I am going to Athens with a positive agenda,” as he stressed Turkey wanted to improve economic ties with Greece, the paper noted.
During Çavuşoğlu’s meeting with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, there were steps taken for 25 articles in areas ranging from transport to energy, the environment, tourism and trade, among them.
The Greek Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE) said that the number of Turkish visitors jumped from 930,000 in 2018 to 1.9 million the next year, more than double, before COVID hit in 2020 and stalled international travel.