ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis won a standing ovation after conducting the first of four Istanbul concerts Thursday night.

About 3,000 Turkish music lovers crowded Istanbul's sports hall to hear Theodorakis, who is on a world tour after resigning his Greek Parliament seat last April.

Turkish composer Zulfu Livaneli, who has worked with Theodorakis since 1982, told the audience the concert signaled an important step in Turkish- Greek relations.

Their last joint album won a Golden Record Award in Turkey earlier this year.

The 61-year-old Greek composer, famed for his film score for ''Zorba the Greek,'' performed for three hours, to the delight of the Turkish audience. He was accompanied by his orchestra and three soloists, Aliki Kayaloglu, Petros Pandis and Tanasis Moraitis.

Livaneli also took part and the concert ended with Theodorakis singing some of the Turk's songs.

Theodorakis arrived here on Wednesday and, at a joint news conference with Livaneli, said Greek and Turkish intellectuals and artists planned to set up friendship committees in both countries to enhance understanding, peace and friendship.

Although the two nations share cultural traditions, disputes about control of parts of the Aegean Sea and the divided island of Cyprus have restricted artistic exchanges and trade.