A landmark treaty delineating the borders between Greece and Turkey, regarded as a cornerstone of regional peace, should be placed on the rubbish heap of history, according to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The comments by the notoriously confrontational politician, who rarely travels to Europe, came on the eve of a historic visit to Greece that many had hoped would put fraught bilateral relations on a new footing.

Instead, Erdoğan’s words drew sharp rebukes from Greece’s president and head of state, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and prime minister, Alexis Tsipras.

“The Treaty of Lausanne defines the territory and the sovereignty of Greece, and of the European Union, and this treaty is non-negotiable,” Pavlopoulos said as Erdoğan sat stony-faced next to him, surrounded by Greek and Turkish officials. “It has no flaws, it does not need to be reviewed, or updated.” The row appeared to intensify when Erdoğan insisted that Athens would not have been able to join Nato had it not been for the support of the Turkish government.

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