Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is due to arrive in Athens on Friday afternoon for talks with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, and participation in the 3rd Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council, as tensions rise over Ankara's violation of Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The visit comes as Cypriot media report that the Turkish research vessel Barbaros has detected large quantities of hydrocarbons in the Cypriot EEZ.
In an interview with Kathimerini ahead of the visit, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated that Turkey will not back down from its position that Cyprus will have to stop exploring for hydrocarbons in its exclusive economic zone for the Turkish research vessel Barbaros to depart the area. He added that he was optimistic that stalled Cyprus talks would resume.
Davutoglu, who is to be flanked by some 10 Turkish ministers on his visit, is due to meet Samaras at the Maximos Mansion shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday. The two men are to address a joint business forum at 8.30 p.m. before chairing the high-level council on Saturday.
Security was increased in the capital ahead of Davutoglu's visit and amid fears of protests to commemorate the killing of a teenager by a policeman on Saturday and against a scheduled parliamentary vote on next year's budget on Sunday.