Turkey, Greece seek to bury hatchet

March 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, March 5 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he wanted to make acrimony with the Greek government a thing of the past.

Erdogan met Tuesday with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to stress both sides were ready to overcome long-standing issues.

"I believe that we and Samaras' administration, which has a strong will for a solution, will take steps and I hope that we will achieve important results for the stability, peace and security of the region," Erdogan was quoted by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman as saying. "We want to overcome difficulties regarding Cyprus and bury that problem in history."

Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Turkey doesn't recognize the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union.

Turkey's geopolitical rows have presented obstacles to its move to establish a closer relationship with the European Union. Samaras was quoted as saying Turkey would be a better neighbor if had ties to the European Union.

He said Turkey and Greece share historic ties and improving that relationship in the 21st century would help "write a new history of peace and progress."

Erdogan added that he wanted to establish a bilateral trade relationship with Greek that could reach the $10 billion mark in the near future.

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