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Turkish minister in Athens for cooperation talks

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gives a press conference on March 22, 2012 after meeting with his Austrian counterpart in Vienna. Davutoglu is on an official visit to Austria for talks focusing on Turkey's EU bid and Cyprus. AFP PHOTO / DIETER NAGL

ATHENS: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is holding talks with Greece's new conservative-led government on Wednesday in an effort to boost rapprochement efforts stalled by the economic crisis in Athens.

Davutoglu was received by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and will later see his counterpart Dimitris Avramopoulos before a press briefing.

According to the Greek foreign ministry, the talks are held to prepare a cooperation summit between the two neighbours and NATO allies that will be held later in the year.

This procedure to improve relations strained by decades of territorial rivalry was last launched by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his then counterpart George Papandreou in 2009, before the economic crisis engulfed Greece.

But the talks have since failed to make much progress.

Greek officials are also keen to raise the issue of illegal immigration with Davutoglu given that the bulk of scores of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers that cross daily into the country come through Turkey.

Athens is acutely worried that the conflict in Syria will increase migration and refugee pressure on its borders at a time when its crisis-stricken services are struggling to handle hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants already present in the country.

 

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