Turkey, Greece agree to enhance military ties May 5, 2010Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
Tags: Greece, Turkey
Old rivals Turkey and Greece agreed Thursday to strengthen contacts between their militaries to reduce the chance of conflict between two countries that almost went to war in the mid-1990s.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and acting Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas agreed in talks in Ankara to pursue joint training and military exchange visits.
“We should allocate our budgets not to arms but health, education and welfare,” Davutoglu told a joint news conference.
Turkey, which opened negotiations to join the European Union in 2005, has adopted a “zero problems” policy with its neighbors from the Balkans to the Middle East.
Turkey and Greece have territorial disputes in the Aegean and differences over the divided island of Cyprus. Turkey also complains that Greece neglects the rights of a Turkish minority that lives in the country.
But relations are far better than in 1996, when Greece and Turkey almost went to war over an uninhabited island in the Aegean. The two countries have many confidence building measures in place, including several related to their armed forces.
The latest measures announced Thursday included joint training programs at Greek and Turkish facilities within the framework of NATO’s 22-member Peace for Partnership program.
The contacts would also include visits by each other’s chiefs of staff to give lectures at military academies, joint research, and reciprocal visits by staff colleges.