Politics behind Turkish PM’s cancelled Athens trip .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - The main reasons behind PM Erdoğan’s last-minute decision to cancel his planned visit to Athens are politically motivated rather than an illness, diplomatic sources say. The Greeks’ airspace violation claims and EU’s human trafficking accusations may be behid cancellation, they add

Despite a governmental statement that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan canceled his trip to Athens due to the health reasons, the main motives behind his last-minute decision were allegedly "political," according to diplomatic sources.

Erdoğan planned to join foreign dignitaries at the opening of the new Acropolis Museum on Saturday, but he telephoned Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis hours before his planned departure to inform him he would be unable to make the trip. The media said as a result of sunstroke, Erdoğan was suffering hypertension, which caused him to cancel all his programs on Sunday, too.

Erdoğan and Karamanlis were supposed to hold a bilateral meeting Saturday before the opening of the Acropolis Museum. The two leaders were to discuss important bilateral matters as well as the ongoing Cyprus talks.

For diplomatic sources, there could be only two main causes for Erdoğan’s cancellation. The first is Karamanlis’ statement last week in Brussels where he complained about Turkey’s air forces’ violating Aegean airspace. He said he would raise the issue with Erdoğan but his way of putting the issue was contradicting with diplomatic politeness, according to sources. "Turkey and Greece always talk about Aegean problems but political leaders should be aware that each countries’ military acts in line with the countries’ policies. Therefore hinting that Turkish air forces act independently from the government was not right," sources said.

The second and more important cause of the cancellation late Friday was the release of the EU presidency’s conclusions regarding Turkey as a source of illegal human trafficking. The report said Turkey had been inserted in the text on Greece’s demand.

Greece in Euro council

"The European Council underlines the need for a significant strengthening of cooperation with the main countries of origin and transit. It invites the commission to explore concrete cooperation with third countries in line with earlier mandates adopted by the council. The effectiveness of the EU's readmission agreements needs to be increased as part of overall EU external policies. Concluding the negotiations on the EC readmission agreements with key countries of origin and transit such as Libya and Turkey is a priority; until then, already existing bilateral agreements should be adequately implemented."

Karamanlis late Friday did not hide his satisfaction with the wording. "Turkey bears significant responsibility for the rising problem of illegal immigrants," he said.

Along those lines, Karamanlis said the union also unanimously backs the position that Turkey must fully implement bilateral agreements it has signed for the re-admission of third party nationals that illegally enter other countries from its territory. This point is a clear reference to a landmark 2001 re-admission protocol that Ankara signed with Athens, a pact that Ankara is reportedly failing to satisfactorily honor.