Tsipras to Turkish Anadolu Agency: My relationship with Erdogan is based on honesty and respect

5 February 2019
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called on the EU to “do all it can to support” Turkey which is currently hosting 4 million refugees, in an interview with Turkish state-owned News Agency Anadolu.
In his exclusive interview with Anadolu, Tsipras made reference to his relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it was based on “respect, honesty, and directness” although it was “challenged in very difficult moments”, adding that it was those difficult moments that allowed the two to forge channels of communication on many levels that helped us overcome obstacles and be able to talks about a positive agenda.
On the issue of the refugee crisis, Mr Tsipras said Turkey had Turkey had taken over the great burden of hosting 4 million refugees, a fact that should be recognised by the international community and the EU.
“As a result [of the EU-refugee deal], illegal flows and especially deaths in the Aegean, drastically decreased,” Tsipras said.
Tsipras also said Turkey and Greece should “intensify” their cooperation regarding the refugee flow since “the Greek islands have been overburdened in the last few years”.
Tsipras also talked on the developments regarding the Muslim Turkish minority’s religious freedom in Greece, an issue which was raised by Erdogan in his 2017 Athens visit.

“The Treaty of Lausanne is the applicable international convention regarding minorities, so we inform each other on relevant developments on this basis,” Tsipras said, branding the issue as an internal one rather than bilateral.
“We have made important steps until now on the implementation of Sharia law, the structure and function of the Mufti offices and educational issues. We will continue in this direction,” the Greek leader said.

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