Bagis: "Turkey and Greece need trade, not thanks"
Aegean neighbors Turkey and Greece need schools, hospitals, and economic cooperation instead of more tanks and weaponry, Turkey's Chief Negotiator for European Union Talks Egemen Bagis said yesterday. Speaking in Ankara to the Turkish-Greek Joint Economic Committee, a group designed to boost bilateral trade and business links, Bagis said both countries have started to make remarkable progress under the visionary leadership of their prime ministers, laying the groundwork for cooperation. "Today, economic and trade ties between our countries are defining political relations," he said. "For us, improving relations is not only a task and goal, but also a historic responsibility." Speaking at the same meeting, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis said an initiative launched by the Turkish and Greek premiers would clear away hurdles blocking entrepreneurs from both countries, adding that improving economic relations would also help develop political ties. Greece sees Turkey as a model for overcoming its current economic crisis, he said, and Athens expects that both countries will take steps to boost cooperation. "Both domestic and foreign investments play a major role in our economic development," Kouvelis said. "We consider Turkey a good friend and a good neighbor. Seeing the flags of the two countries side by side means a better future for the Turkish and Greek nations."