World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey would not want to adopt a policy based on rumors regarding its relations with Greece.
Giving an interview to the state-run television channel ERT of Greece on Sunday, a day ahead of Greek Premier Antonis Samaras's visit to Turkey, Erdogan stated the importance of bilateral cooperation.
"While we consider the partnership between the two countries as strategic, we want to add a different dimension to this partnership," said Erdogan adding that they would not adopt "a policy based on rumors."
Regarding Samaras's visit, Erdogan said the delegations were set to discuss a number of issues, such as tourism, energy, telecommunications and defense while also signing new agreements in several of these areas.
Erdogan said they had found the opportunity to talk about many of these issues with Samaras in their meeting in Doha in late January and they would make new steps.
Erdogan stated that the total foreign trade volume between the two countries by the end of 2012 was 5 billion USD, 3.5 billion USD of which was Greece's exports and 1.5 billion USD was the amount of Turkey's exports, adding that they were moving forward, protecting the rights of the neighbor and with solidarity.
Erdogan said their meeting with Samaras in Turkey would be one of the most important steps on bilateral relations of Turkey and Greece.
"Differences between Greece and Turkey can be resolved through a unbiased and friendly approach. Both our countries need this," Erdogan said, adding that there have been mistakes and misunderstandings in relations in the past.
"We need to fix these mistakes and misunderstandings mutually and through joint steps we can raise our military, political, economic, commercial and cultural ties to a whole new level," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said minorities could play a key role in bringing two countries closer to each other, describing Istanbul's Greek minority "a bridge" between the two nations.
Erdogan said the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council offered "a historic opportunity" for the relations between the two countries.
Erdogan said Turkey and Greece continued to work on settling a territorial dispute in the Aegean Sea, adding, "I see absolutely no reason not to achieve results in this issue as long as we assume an unbiased attitude."
The Turkish premier said his country favored a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem through "an unprejudiced process" and a fresh initiative by the United Nations.
Erdogan said Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are entitled to equal rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that oil and natural gas reserves around Cyprus should be distributed equally to the two communities.
Erdogan said Turkey was willing to help Greece weather its crippling economic crisis, adding planned privatization projects in Greece were of great importance for the country's economic recovery.