"Turkey and Greece are the key counties in our region, we represent two great civilizations. There is no secret that there are days when we are unable to reach an accord. Sometimes, we face tough times and we have disagreements … But we can see the solution [to these disagreements] in cooperation and dialogue with Greece," Cavusoglu said during the opening ceremony of the renovated Greek Consulate General building in Izmir, which had been postponed over the border guard situation.
The comment was made after Turkey detained the Greek border officials detained in March. Athens claimed that the two officers entered Turkey by mistake amid bad weather and called on Ankara to release them, but Turkey insisted they should be kept in custody. The two border guards were freed from jail in mid-August, followed by the Greek Foreign Ministry expressing hope that bilateral relations would develop.
Relations between Turkey and Greece have been tense due to a number of issues. They range from long-standing ones, such as the lack of an accord on Cyprus — which has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the northern part of the island nation in response to a Greek-backed coup — to more relevant issues, such as Athens’ refusal to extradite eight Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of being involved in the 2016 attempted coup. The soldiers were held in custody in Greece for months before being released in June.