Turkey and Greece have temporarily postponed their historic rivalry with the visit on Sunday of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to provide aid on behalf of his country to the tens of thousands affected by Monday’s catastrophic earthquake.

Accompanied by his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Dendias conveyed from the Antioch care center the “deepest condolences” of the Greek government, as well as the order of the country’s prime minister, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, for “Greece to do everything in its power to help Turkey at this very difficult time”.

The earthquake has devastated a dozen provinces in the south of the country and left more than 24,000 people dead, in addition to more than 3,000 in Turkey. The current death toll exceeds 28,000 but the UN fears that this number could end up doubling.

“We should not wait for natural disasters to become a factor in improving our relations,” declared the ministers of two countries, at odds over various issues such as the status of Northern Cyprus, the exploitation of resources in the Mediterranean, or the migration crisis on the bordering Evros River.

“I would have loved to be here for happier reasons, but the fact is that here we are now,” lamented Dendias in comments picked up by the Greek daily ‘Kathimerini’ in its digital edition.

The foreign minister will meet with members of the Greek aid mission, which operates in the affected areas, and will discuss with his counterpart the possibility of extending its presence in the country over the next few days, as well as additional aid mechanisms.


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