Greece has turned to its traditional foe Turkey for badly needed help in managing the migrant crisis. The desperate situation has led Prime Minister Tsipras to call for a 'new era' in the two countries' relations.
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, joining the chorus of European leaders seeking a more active role for Turkey in controlling the westward flow of migrants through its borders.
"We need to talk more about how to fight trafficking networks and how to coordinate and cooperate on the level of migration, police and coastguard authorities," Tsipras wrote in the pro-government Turkish newspaper "Sabah."
This marked the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras' first official visit to neighboring Turkey. The relationship between the two countries has a troubled history, including a number of horrific wars as the two nations sought to establish their independence in the early 20th century.
Lingering resentments were aired at a "friendly" football match between Greece and Turkey Tuesday night. Some fans booed the Greek national anthem as it played at the stadium - which Tsipras laughed off - as well as during a moment of silence for the victims of Friday's attacks in Paris.
Tsipras wrote in "Sabah" of his hope for a "new era" in Greece's relationship with Turkey.
Reuters reports that Tsipras said he views Turkey's accession bid to the European Union "in a positive light." His Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu is also reported by Reuters to have said he sees a "window of opportunity" in negotiations with Cyprus, which has been controversially split down ethnic Turkish and Greek lines.
Tsipras' plea to Turkey for help in the refugee crisis is perhaps the most personal to date. Financially-strapped Greece has struggled to cope as the first European country many migrants reach, usually by way of Turkey. More than 650,000 migrants have made that journey this year through October alone.
Additionally, many have died en route, frequently when the choppy waters of the Aegean Sea overturn poorly-suited dinghies.
Another migrant boat sunk in the Aegean on Wednesday. Rescuers are searching for ten missing people who were on board.
The pressure to more securely manage the migrant crisis has also been raised in the wake of the Friday's attacks in Paris. One of the perpetrators possibly traveled with the migrant flow through Greece.
jtm/jil (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)