Boosting the Greek-Turkish 'positive agenda', expanding communication is key

Wed, 13 Dec 2023 9:31 GMT
2nd Greek-Turkish Media & Academy Forum: Boosting the Greek-Turkish 'positive agenda', expanding communication is key.
Boosting the Greek-Turkish 'positive agenda', expanding communication is key

2nd Greek-Turkish Media & Academy Forum: Boosting the Greek-Turkish 'positive agenda', expanding communication is key.

Speakers at a congress organized jointly by the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at the American College of Greece and The Foundation for Türkiye Studies) on Tuesday focused on the necessity of maintainting and strengthening the 'positive agenda' in Greek-Turkish relations and in expanding communication and communication channels.

The event followed up on the 1st Greek-Turkish Forum of Media & Academies that took place in Istanbul in October.

Institute head and associate professor Constantinos Filis referred to the successful visit on Thursday of the Turkish president to Athens, while noting the "existing Greek-Turkish differences". He also underlined the importance of special collaborations at similar level, such as this congress, for mass media, the academic community, and civil society.

Deputy FM Fragogiannis

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion Kostas Fragogiannis said that Greece must stop driving toward the future while looking back at the past, as global developments require collaboration.

Fragogiannis referred to the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens on Thursday and the agreements signed between Greek and Turkish ministers. He also spoke of the 'positive agenda' and its two advantages: it keeps communication bridges open and creates a friendly mechanism of trust for the two sides' collaboration; and it creates an atmosphere, the climate, the warmth, and the success in seeking an agreemnt. In Greek and Turkish societies, he said, one good thing leads to another, the next good thing, he added.

The minister said that when one succeeds in finding common ground in 15 agreements - and another 15 in the works -, this alone is proof of a mechanism of trust between the two sides.

Fragogiannis also detailed with examples the specific agreements and memoranda of understanding signed in Athens and the initiatives they call for that will be activated in the near future. He also underlined those particular ones that relate to education, sports, research, and innovation, without neglecting to mention those that relate to Greek-Turkish economic relations. As he said, it is a continuous and dynamic process.

Turkish Presidency's Altun

Head of the Turkish Presidency's Directorate of Communications Fahrettin Altun conveyed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 'cordial greetings' in a video connection at the congress. He underlined that the Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighbourliness signed by the Greek and Turkish presidents on Thursday signalled the start of 'a new page' in relations, adding that the joint commitment will lead to many opportunities for collaboration on the basis of mutual trust, which will benefit both countries and the region overall.

It is the duty of journalists, academics, and NGOs to ensure that communication channels remain open, Altun said, adding that a new approach must be built to deal with communication and media efforts that harm the ties of Greece and Türkiye and global public opinion by not reporting what it true and right.

"We, as Republic of Türkiye, believe that we do not have unsurmountable problems with our neighbors, as Greece, with which we share common history and a similar culture," he added.

Altun also referred to the multiple opportunities in expanding bilateral collaboration in sectors like the economy, trade, transport, energy, health, technology, education, and youth.


The congress took place in two phases, a closed-door conference and two panels. The latter included one on "Public speech in Greece and Türkiye in a time of misinformation" and one on whether a positive agenda in Greek-Turkish relations is viable.

The first panel was moderated by Filis, and included NTV journalist Ahmet Yeşiltepe, 'Kathimerini' and 'Skai TV' journalist Manolis Kostidis, A News journalist Orhan Sali, and assistant professor Manos Skoulas, member of the IGA's Academic Council.

The second panel was moderated by assistant professor and head of the Türkiye Research Foundation. It included the following professors: Ilay Romain Ors of the American College of Greece, Ali Hüseyinoğlu of Trakya University, Kostas Yfantis of Panteion University, and Gizem Alioğlu Çakmak of Yeditepe University.


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