Thursday , July 18 2024

5th meeting of the Greece-Turkiye High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) held in Athens


Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens for the 5th Greece-Turkiye High-Level Cooperation Council.


Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a joint declaration pledging to maintain good and friendly neighbourly relations at the 5th meeting of the Greece-Turkiye High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) held in Athens on December 7th.

The 5th HLCC meeting is seen as one more step in the direction of improving Greek-Turkish relations after a seven-year hiatus – during which tension in Greek-Turkish relations came to a brink. It strives to signal a mutual will for cooperation that benefits both countries and the normalisation of relations in a spirit of mutual sincerity and good-neighbourly relations, given that it took place after the conclusion of the first round of the road map of contacts agreed by the foreign ministers of the two countries.

The contacts that took place within the context of the Greece-Turkiye HLCC included a series of important individual meetings, with the most important being that between the two leaders, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This was part of a process that started some months ago, which includes political dialogue, Confidence Building Measures and the positive agenda.

Greece is engaging in dialogue with Turkiye in a way that is fully aligned with its long-standing positions. The Greek government participated in the HLCC with Turkiye with a sincere desire to cooperate, as the consolidation of a positive climate is an important step in Greece’s relations with the neighbouring country, government sources underlined. They also pointed out that special emphasis is being placed on a positive agenda that is mutually beneficial.

During the 5th Greece-Turkiye HLCC, the two sides signed agreements, memoranda and joint statements in the fields of economic and trade cooperation, health, education, tourism, sports, research and technology, as well as rural development.

As part of their bilateral meeting, Premier Mitsotakis and President Erdogan discussed the next steps in the relations and contacts of the two countries based on the three points agreed upon during their meeting in Vilnius last July: political dialogue, confidence building measures, positive agenda.

Fifteen different collaborations across a broad spectrum of sectors were signed between Greek and Turkish ministers within the context of this High-Level Cooperation Council. These came in the form of seven Memoranda of Cooperation (MoCs), seven Joint Declarations of cooperation and one agreement.


The two delegations in conference.


Memoranda of Cooperation

An MoC was signed by Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) Senior Business Development Manager Dimitris Michos and Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEIAS) President Orhan Kaldirim.

This MoC concerns the creation of a new power interconnector between Nea Santa in Rodopi, northern Greece and Babaeski in Turkey, in view of upgrading the electrical interconnection between the two countries and increasing the volume of the two-way energy flow by 600 MW.

Development and Investments Minister Kostas Skrekas and Türkiye’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hakan Fidan signed an MoC on the development of networking structures between small and medium-sized enterprises in both countries and on information and best practices exchange in view of simplifying the business environment.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostas Fragogiannis and Türkiye’s Turk Eximbank (Export Credit Bank of Türkiye) CEO Ali Guney signed an MoC on increasing mutual exports of goods and services. The cooperation includes exchange of best practices, know-how and information, staff training, facilitating problem solving and the development of joint research programmes in Greece, Türkiye and third countries.

Deputy Minister Fragogiannis also signed an MoC with ‘Invest in Turkiye’ (Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye) President Burak Daglioglu, on attracting investments. This foresees exchanging information on matters of economic interest, the creation of a stable and flexible investment climate, the promotion and expansion of cooperation between businesses and the development of mutually beneficial investment programmes.

Another MoC was signed by the Deputy Foreign Minister, this time with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Vice-President Cengiz Gunay. This foresees the cooperation of Enterprise Greece and TOBB on supporting the business communities in both countries. Cooperation includes the development of strategies to increase trade and business missions, exchange of information and know-how, human resource management and sustainable economic development.

Family Policy and Social Cohesion Minister Sofia Zacharaki and Türkiye’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hakan Fidan signed an MoC on promoting cooperation to develop strategies and services for equal access and inclusion of people with special needs in the social fabric. This includes the exchange of good practices and know-how in the field of social welfare, the organisation of conferences and seminars for the elimination of inequalities, the improvement of accessibility, as well as the care and deinstitutionalisation of people with special needs.

Foreign Affairs Minister George Gerapetritis and his counterpart of Türkiye Hakan Fidan signed an MoC on sports collaborations.

This MoC replaces a previous 2013 Protocol and promotes the strengthening of the Olympic Games institution, cooperation on tackling manipulation of the Olympic Games and cooperation and exchanges between national federations and sports groups.


Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis heads the welcoming delegation at the airport.


Joint Declarations

Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and Türkiye’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy signed a joint declaration on tourism collaboration. This includes recognising the role of tourism as a bridge of cooperation between the two peoples and its contribution to economic development and support of professionals, businesses and local communities. Within this context, it was agreed that the Greece-Türkiye Joint Tourism Committee meet every year to promote the direct cooperation of travel agencies and tourist agents to strengthen the exchange of good practices and experiences, to explore the possibilities for joint tourism investments, with the ultimate goal being to increase tourism streams between the two countries.

Development and Investments Minister Kostas Skrekas and Türkiye’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hakan Fidan signed a joint declaration of collaboration in research and innovation. This includes the collaboration of the two countries’ national agencies – Greece’s General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI) and Türkiye’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK) – in continuing and expanding their scientific cooperation and affirming their intention to announce a joint tender in the fields of life sciences, health, pharmaceuticals, agri-food, circular economy, sustainable energy, building materials, culture, tourism and the creative industry.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostas Fragogiannis and Türkiye’s Deputy Minister of Customs and Trade Sezai Ucarmak signed a joint declaration on convening the 6th Joint Economic & Trade Committee (JEC-JETCO) session the soonest feasible, with the Turkish side proposing this be held in Istanbul on February 2nd 2024. Matters relating to trade, energy, transport and tourism will be discussed at said session.

Agriculture Minister Lefteris Avgenakis and Türkiye’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hakan Fidan signed to cooperate in exchanging know-how in the field of agricultural crops, in dealing with floods or droughts, in the prevention and treatment of forest fires, to tackle illegal fishing and to promote research in the field of rural development.

Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue President George Pitsilis and Türkiye’s Deputy Minister of Customs and Trade Sezai Ucarmak signed to further develop cooperation between customs authorities.

Within this context, they agreed on the organisation of joint seminars, the exchange of information and best practices in order to improve the efficiency of customs services, fight fraud and promote the security and protection of citizens.

Deputy Minister Fragogiannis and Türkiye’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Burak Akcapar signed to jointly hold a ‘Hackathon’ event. This includes organising an online competition with the active participation of secondary school students, higher education students, start-ups, chambers of commerce and industry from both countries. Participants will be invited to submit ideas and proposals on issues of environmental protection and everyday life in an urban environment. The winning proposal will be supported by both countries toward its implementation.

Egnatia Odos SA CEO Konstantinos Koutsoukos and Türkiye’s General Directorate of Highways Deputy Director General, Selahattin Bayramcavus, signed a collaboration in acknowledgement of the progress in the construction of the second cross-border bridge near the village of Kipoi (Ipsala in Turkish) on the Evros Greek-Turkish border region, which is supervised by Egnatia Odos SA, with a meeting of technical committees and experts coming soon.


Deputy Foreign Ministers Alexandra Papadopoulou and Kostas Fragogiannis meet with their Turkish counterparts.



Education, Religious Affairs and Sports Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis and Türkiye’s Education Minister Yusuf Tekin signed an agreement on strengthening cooperation between the two countries’ ministries in the field of vocational education.

This also refers to the recognition of technical education diplomas, the exchange of know-how and expertise, the organisation of joint educational activities for teachers and students, as well as student exchange programmes.


(Photos: M.Karagiannis, D.Papamitsos, N.Panagiotopoulos/Eurokinissi.)

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