Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkish and Greek Cypriots had the will of contributing to the peace process, adding "As long as Turkey and Greece approach to the Cyprus issue with a common perspective, I am sure that peace will easily come to the island." Davutoglu and Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos held a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting on Friday in Athens, Greece. Saying they discussed the Cyprus issue and Turkish-Greek relations during the meeting, Turkish minister added that the bilateral relations between the two countries also gained pace with the meetings of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council (HSCC) which also added a new dimension into foreign trade and human affairs. "Foreign trade with Greece has scaled up eight-nine times in last decade and our target is to reach $10 billion and more cooperation domains should be evaluated to actualize this amount," said Davutoglu. Referring to Cyprus negotiations, Davutoglu said there had been an intensive negotiation speed in last weeks, adding "Turkey and Greece, as guarantors and confidence factors for Turkish and Greek Cypriots, have the will of contributing to the peace process." Noting that Turkey and Greece wanted peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, Davutoglu emphasized that the key to the peace in the region was Cyprus, adding that the improvement in relations between the two countries would make them more powerful within the European continent.
"Cyprus issue will be solved by means of political will and Turkey is striving to positively contribute to the explanatory text which has been centered on concerning Cyprus negotiations in recent weeks. No need to initiate new arguments and we should immediately move to negotiations," added the minister.
Upon a question concerning situations of the minorities in Turkey, Davutoglu said he thought that everybody followed the great reforms made by Turkey in this issue, adding "Turkey has returned properties exceeding $1 billion to non-Muslim foundations with a far-reaching reform, which cannot be made in any other country. No other country carried out such an application of universal law concerning the Ottoman, Turkish and Muslim foundations. Despite this, we have not found it risky to take this step."
Noting Turkey's principle is to widen all freedom domains of its people regardless of their origin and religion, the minister said, "We do it and European reports have also witnessed this issue."
Davutoglu also underlined that common culture should always be protected and respect to institutions should be tackled when religious issues are in question.
Also speaking at the press conference, Venizelos made a statement at Friday press conference said that the third meeting of the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council would be held in Greece in September, 2014, as agreed during the two ministers' meeting.
The two countries have strong cooperation in energy and tourism as well as economy, trade and development, said the Greek minister, adding that a new natural gas pipeline stretching through Turkey to Europe has a key role in terms of energy and other initiatives should be developed as well concerning other issues in addition to the pipeline.
Mediterranean is not only important for natural gas, but also for renewable energy and Turkey's being ready to sign a readmission agreement with EU is important, which will ease struggling with the common illegal migration issue, added Venizelos.
Venizelos stated illegal migration was not only a humanitarian problem, but also a security issue both for European countries and Turkey, adding that the two countries had a good cooperation in struggling with terrorism.