By Ammar Nas
Turkey's Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said on Saturday the country aimed to “enhance friendship” and “reduce animosity” between Ankara and Athens.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul after commemoration of a population exchange between Greece and Turkey after World War I, Yildirim said the two countries share a common history and culture despite on and off disputes in the Aegean Sea.
His remarks come ahead of a two-day visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Feb. 5-6.
Yildirim added that Tsipras would be hosted with “Turkish hospitality.”
Tsipras is expected to be the first Greek leader to visit a former Christian Orthodox seminary located on one of the Princes' Islands off the Istanbul coast.
In 1996, a decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over uninhabited Aegean islets brought the two countries to the brink of armed conflict and has since led to renewed tensions.