Greece and Turkey, Long at Odds, Vow to Work Together Peacefully

Greece and Turkey, Long at Odds, Vow to Work Together Peacefully
Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands before an outdoor staircase lined with red carpet. On either side are rows of people in military uniform.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, center, greeted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Athens on Thursday before the two leaders signed a “declaration of friendship” pact.Credit…Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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After years of tensions between Greece and Turkey, the countries’ leaders signed a “declaration on friendly relations and good neighborliness” on Thursday, in what they described as a bid to set the two neighboring, rival nations on a more constructive path. The eventual goal, they said, was to resolve longstanding differences, which in recent decades have brought them to the brink of military conflict.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey signed the declaration as Mr. Erdogan made his first visit to Athens in six years. Although the pact is not legally binding, it is historically significant — previous Greek leaders have tried but failed to achieve it — and carries strong symbolism.

Top officials from both countries were also engaged in talks on issues including migration, energy, tourism and trade. The two leaders said their aim was to double annual trade between their countries, to $10 billion.

Here is what to know.

Mr. Erdogan appeared relaxed and smiling in a televised exchange with his Greek counterpart, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Greek television also showed Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Erdogan engaged in an unusually cordial handshake before ascending the steps of the prime minister’s mansion for talks.

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