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    A European Union (L) and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, May 4, 2016.

    Professor: 'Turkey Has a Very Important Role to Play in EU Politics'

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    With Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras concluding his two-day visit to Turkey to meet his counterpart Turkish President Erdogan, many issues that have hampered relations between the two countries will have been discussed. Sputnik spoke about it with Dr Ilia Xypolia Professor of Politics & International Relations at the University of Aberdeen.

    Sputnik: What were the main issues discussed by Tsipras and Erdogan?

    Dr Ilia Xypolia: Anyone who's been following the situation closely would not expect any breakthrough to come from Tsipras's visit to Turkey.

    The two leaders; after having some private talks just paid lip service, for keeping an open dialogue to smoothen out upcoming tensions in Greece-Turkey relations.

    The most contentious issues were related to energy in the Aegean, in the eastern Mediterranean, as the agenda for this meeting was to settle this before the arrival of the Greek Prime Minister, with the Turkish foreign ministry re-affirming its call to ask Greece openly to extradite the eight servicemen and army officers that Turkey has accused of participating in the coup of the summer of 2016.

    They have also drawn some red lines on affirming that it has a national interest, and it will pursue rights over energy sources in the Aegean and in the eastern Mediterranean, in the waters around the island of Cyprus; which is also one of the most important bilateral issues between Turkey and Greece.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (L) chats with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd R), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (2nd L) during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23, 2016
    © REUTERS / Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace
    READ MORE: Ankara Looks to Athens for Extradition of Eight Turkish Soldiers — Erdogan

    Sputnik: How important for the EU are good relations with Turkey?

    Dr Ilia Xypolia: This visit has come in a special context; as these two states are members of NATO, but also Turkey has a very important role to play in EU politics, not only as a state that wants to join the EU, but in the context of the ongoing migration issue.

    The developments in the Balkans; with the deal signed between Athens and Skopje on the name of Northern Macedonia, opens up opportunities in developments in the Balkans in the energy sector, but also in economic agreements that could see Turkey becoming more than just an ally for the EU and the Balkans.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    meeting, extradition, European Union, Alexis Tsipras, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
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