Prime Minister’s address of Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Yildirim, at the reception at the Maximos Mansion

Alexis Tsipras: I would like to welcome you to Greece. It is a visit that takes place in a very interesting period, both for the relations of our two countries, and also for the developments in the wider region as well as the overall Euro-Turkish relations.

The last meeting we had at an intergovernmental level in Smyrna opened up a rather broad agenda, a positive agenda of relations between our two countries. We must return the thread in order to build a relationship based on trust and cooperation. It is our firm belief that relations of trust and cooperation can be beneficial for our peoples.

Of course, there are also challenges ahead that we must face. I want to point out one issue, Prime Minister: In the past, both our countries have experienced difficulties, but as good neighbors, no country has tried to take advantage of its neighbor’s difficulties. Neighbors must support each other during difficult times. And that’s what we do.

I therefore look forward to the opportunity which we have in the next few years to confront important challenges in a constructive manner and to boldly approach – if you wish – issues that are open for decades in order to provide solutions. And even more, I do not hide it, I look forward to the opportunity to approaching the issues in a positive way, as I am aware that your background, your studies, are engineering studies. As myself, you are an engineer too so I think we can see matters in a positive way and acknowledge the ability we have to approach our disagreements with a constructive attitude.

With these thoughts, I welcome you back to Athens.

Binali Yildirim: Thank you very much for the welcome and the honor to accept me. We have a saying in Turkish that “a neighbor needs even the ash from the woods burning by the neighbor”. This is what a good neighborhood is. We need everything. We depend on each other. Being in the same geographical area means we are sharing the same fate.

Undoubtedly, we have problems. We have issues that we have to deal with in the context of reasoning with calmness and in the best possible way to proceed with the solution.

We are aware of the problems Greece is facing, we have our own problems too. In particular, you know that in our southern borders, in our neighboring Syria, there has been a civil war for years. I believe that the problems that arise from these situations can be solved with solidarity, with goodwill, searching for solutions and helping each other in the best possible way.

I believe that the positive processes and opportunities that will emerge from our cooperation, the opportunities are much more important than the existing problems. We should focus on the opportunities that we have before us and see what we can do with the challenges we have to face, which I believe we will be able to solve within a broad timeframe and with a sense of good neighboring, with dialogue and justice.

I agree with you, we are both engineers and in this respect we have a very pragmatic, positive way of approaching problems. We can analyze the coordinates and find the solution needed. I think we should not be prevented from moving ahead and dealing with the existing challenges, prejudices or misconceptions on certain issues.

I hope that the current visit will contribute to the development of bilateral relations, both at the commercial level and at the level of human relations between us.

Thank you very much.