Monday, July 26, 1999 Published at 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Turkey and Greece aim to ease tension
Greece, left, and Turkey seek progress by avoiding key issues
Senior Turkish and Greek diplomats have begun a series of meetings in Ankara aimed at easing decades of tension in their relations.
The two sides, led by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Mithat Balkan and Greek Foreign Ministry Political Director Anastasios Skopelitis, discussed tourism for over an hour at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Cyprus not on agenda
Environmental issues and trade are also on the agenda of the two-day meeting.
The issue of Cyprus was not among a list of topics on an agenda released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Greece and Turkey disagree over Cyprus, divided into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish-occupied north after Turkey intervened against a Greek military-inspired coup in 1974.
No breakthrough expected
Ankara also accuses Greece of supporting Kurdish rebels of condemned guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, whom Greece sheltered in Kenya before Turkey captured him in February.
Athens denies backing the rebels.
By avoiding the key issues which divide them, Turkey and Greece hope to calm tensions that hinder, among other things, close cooperation within Nato.
Tension between the pair also aggravates Turkey's strained ties with the European Union, of which Greece is a member.
The two countries have been on the brink of war three times in the last 25 years.
Officials from both sides say the talks are deliberately pitched at an uncontroversial level and are not expected to produce any major breakthrough.