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Turkey Now Practicing ‘Basketball Diplomacy’

Though the “Football Diplomacy” that took place between Armenia and Turkey a little over a year-and-a-half ago might be a thing of the past, diplomacy based on sports (or sporting events) seems to still be active in Turkey.

Turkey has gone from “Football Diplomacy” to “Basketball Diplomacy” when Turkey’s and Greece’s teams played off during the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship game in Ankara yesterday. Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu had invited Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Drucas to watch the game together. 

Though the game was competitive, Davutoglu said that it was friendship that won the match in the end. 

“We watched a very friendly match. Of course we are proud of the victory of our team [Turkey won, 76-65], but beyond this, it is friendship that won in the match,” Davutoglu told reporters together with Drucas, reports WorldBulletin.net.

As reported by various Turkish and Greek media, the two ministers a number of political issues, including the issue of disputed territories in the Aegean Sea and the act of Ankara removing Greece from Turkey’s list of countries that are considered threats to national security.

Turkish media reported last week that Ankara is set to remove Greece, Russia, Iraq and Iran from that list. 

Furthermore, during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Greece in May, reports Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, the two countries agreed to hold regular bilateral meetings aimed at mutual defense cuts. Turkey and Greece have been discussing the dispute on the Aegean in exploratory talks.