By Yannis Kartalis
We are in a period of international tumult as global geopolitical balances have not settled after the end of the bipolar world.
At a time when there is a predominance of authoritarian leaders, untrammelled populism, and dangerous military moves, the overarching question for Greece in terms of security is, “What exactly is Turkey up to?”
Ankara on a daily basis is escalating tensions in terms of rhetoric. That is accompanied by threats and provocative actions that are obviously designed to divert the attention of the Turkish public from the great harm caused by the erratic economic policy of the country’s self-styled neo-sultan.
“Ιt’s the economy, stupid,” as US President Bill Clinton’s economic advisor famously declared.
What remains to be seen is if Erdogan’s Turkey will follow the example of former PM Bulent Ecevit in 1974, when he invaded Cyprus, or of ex-PM Tansu Ciller during the Imia crisis (which is widely considered to have brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war), when the country was in the middle of economic crises.
The question today is whether the positive disposition of the internationals that prevailed back then remains the same.
If we exclude the recent example of Spain, we must acknowledge that the overtly negative stance of US President Joe Biden toward Erdogan, and his decision not to invite the Turkish leader to his “Summit for Democracy”, which Washington is preparing to hold by internet on 10 December, with the participation of 110 countries.
The reason for that is Turkey’s well-known blanket violations of human rights.
It remains to be seen what will be the policy of the new German government, after the departure of Angela Merkel and the appointment of the Green party’s Annalena Baerbock as the country’s foreign minister.
In all likelihood, we should not expect spectacular changes, given the stance of the Liberals who hold the critical finance ministry and the influence of the large Turkish community in Germany, which always allows Erdogan to blackmail by playing the refugees card.
There is, of course, the case of France, which was the weak link in the Franco-German axis now hopes for a new, stronger presence, with the support of Italy and the creation of an analogous Italo-German axis, following the signing two days ago of the relevant treaty at Rome’s Quirinal palace.
The issue us that Italy – as Spain and Germany – is a purveyor of arms to Ankara.
In brief, all questions remain wide open, and the question is when they will be closed.