Erdogan ruffles Greek feathers as trip gets underway

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/12/7 22:48:39

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Greece for a two-day official visit on Thursday, a trip designed to boost relations but exposing long historical grievances between old foes.

Erdogan was scheduled to meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday. On Friday, he was due to travel to northern Greece and visit the Muslim community there.

Even before he landed, he riled his hosts by suggesting revisions to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which established the borders of Turkey and therefore of Greece.

"This is a treaty that encompasses the entire region and just because of that, I think during the course of time, all treaties need a revision, and Lausanne in the face of the recent developments needs makeup, a revision if you will," Erdogan told SKAI TV and Kathimerini newspaper in an interview.

In swift rebuttal, Greece said the treaty was non-negotiable, and suggestions that it be revised were not conducive to attempts to build relations.

"The Greek government, and the Prime Minister, expect that his [Erdogan's] visit will build bridges, not walls," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in a statement.

Turkish flags were not visible in central Syndagma Square, apart from one outside the hotel where Erdogan was thought to be staying.

The two NATO partners teetered on the verge of war in 1974, 1987 and 1996.

Posted in: EUROPE

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