Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to the new Greek Prime Minister

The British Financial Times newspaper reported newly elected Greek leader Papandreou's first visit to Turkey as an unexpected development.

Following Sunday's big election victory, Mr Papandreou picked the "Old enemy" Turkey the his first overseas visit. According to the analysts for the region, this is not only for symbolic but also practical reasons.

Mr Papandreou will pay an unexpected visit to his Turkish counterpart on Friday in an attempt to revive the relationships between the 2 countries.

A prominent figure in Turkish politics pointed out that there is no need to break the ice at all. He said "Papandreou is a well-known figure here in Turkey and his first visit to Turkey is symbolic and it is a great honor".

During this visit a framework of negotiations for Cyprus' reunification will be debated, and a roadmap is expected to be agreed.

A Greek insider commented that a restart of continuous dialogue with Turkey will be a priority for the new Greek government

Mr Papandreou will visit Cyprus at the end of this month to meet the Greek and Turkish communities.

Mr Papandreou also visited his old counterpart (at the foreign ministry) Ismail Cem's grave and laid some olive branches. Both Mr Cem and Mr Papandreou played a key role a decade ago in triggering the improvements in relationships following many years of suspicion and animosity between the 2 countries after the earthquakes in both Turkey and Greece.