Erdogan Will Make Groundbreaking Visit to Greece Next Week


Critics of Mr. Erdogan complain that Turkey has alienated former Western allies and has become increasingly isolated, and in that sense an improvement of ties with Greece will be welcomed all around.

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Ahead of the visit, the Greek police arrested nine Turkish citizens suspected of links to a group Turkey has designated a terrorist group.

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Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press

Three large-scale joint projects — a border bridge, ferry connections and a high-speed train connection — are under negotiation between the countries ahead of a cooperation meeting in February, Mr. Cavusoglu, the deputy prime minister, said.

Other bilateral issues include the stalled peace process over Cyprus, the waves of immigrants that have moved in recent years from Turkey into Greece and the problems facing Turks living in Greece and Greeks in Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said.

Mr. Erdogan is expected to demand the extradition of eight members of the Turkish armed forces who fled to Greece in a military helicopter after a failed coup last year. The men, the highest ranking of whom was a captain, requested asylum. Greece refused to hand them over in the immediate aftermath and granted them asylum in January.

Greece has reported a surge in asylum requests from Turkish citizens since the coup attempt in July 2016. Nearly 1,000 people applied in the year after that episode. The Turkish border police have occasionally reported apprehending Turks trying to flee across the border.

A family of five drowned in the Aegean Sea on Nov. 21 while trying to flee by boat to the Greek island of Lesbos, using the route favored by Syrian immigrants. The father was a physics teacher, purged from his job in Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown against people suspected of links to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric living in the United States who is accused of masterminding the coup. The man’s wife and three children, ages 7 to 13, also died.

Ahead of Mr. Erdogan’s visit, the Greek police arrested nine Turkish citizens suspected of links to the extreme leftist group, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in Athens.

Eight men and a woman were detained, news agencies reported. The group has been designated a terrorist group by Turkey but is known to have a presence in Greece.

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