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Türkiye, Greece unite for historic OSCE nominations

Türkiye, Greece unite for historic OSCE nominations President Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pose after a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Türkiye, May 13, 2024.
By Newsroom
Jun 20, 2024 3:14 PM

The normalization process between Türkiye and Greece is making significant strides as Ankara has nominated its former Permanent Representative to the U.N., Feridun Sinirlioglu, for the position of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary-General.

On the other hand, Greece has appointed diplomat Mania Telalian as the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

New chapter in bilateral relations

This step comes after a pivotal meeting between President Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on July 12 of last year in Vilnius, Lithuania. The leaders agreed to turn a new page in Turkish-Greek relations.

Following this agreement, Erdogan visited Athens and Mitsotakis visited Ankara. Several bilateral agreements were signed, fostering cooperation in various fields, including combating illegal immigration.

Despite occasional ups and downs, the Aegean region has enjoyed a period of calm, free from prolonged tensions.

One tangible outcome of this new relationship chapter was Türkiye’s support in May for Greece’s claim over the Elgin Marbles, challenging the U.K.’s position by declaring that no Ottoman decree authorized the removal of these artifacts.

Joint candidacies for key OSCE roles

In a historic move at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Türkiye and Greece have jointly endorsed candidates for two critical positions.

According to Greek media, a letter signed by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis was delivered to the OSCE headquarters in Vienna.

This joint letter, sent just days before the deadline for nominations, left OSCE officials pleasantly surprised.

The letter outlined the countries’ support for their respective candidates: former Deputy Minister and Permanent Representative to the U.N., Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu, for OSCE Secretary-General, and former Director of the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Legal Department, Mania Telalian, for the Director of ODIHR.

Besides Ambassador Sinirlioglu, there are five other candidates for the 57-member OSCE’s Secretary-General position.

Controversy, future steps

However, the joint candidacy has sparked controversy in the Greek Cypriot community. The Fileleftheros newspaper criticized the move, citing the ongoing Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and declaring that supporting Sinirlioglu was out of the question.

Reports from Greek and Cypriot media indicate that the Greek Foreign Ministry has instructed its embassies abroad to coordinate with Turkish embassies to support these nominations.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, currently Malta, will consult with member states and report on the appointments for these crucial roles by September.

Last Updated:  Jun 20, 2024 3:16 PM