Now, more than ever, an important element of successful diplomacy is how many friends and enemies you have in foreign countries, and all the more so in a superpower such as the US.
The West cannot abandon Turkey, and Greece does not want the West to abandon Turkey, even with a president like Erdogan – the dangerous revisionist that supposedly no one wants to talk to.
Obviously, Erdogan is largely motivated by an expansionist vision, yet he is receiving from abroad ever sterner signals that differences with Greece must be peacefully resolved.
Athens must prepare for the prospect of Ankara broadening its alliances and of Erdogan being re-elected to yet another five-year term, as even if he loses, Turkey’s policy toward Greece will not change radically.
Though Thrace's Muslim minority is comprised of ethnic Turks, Pomaks, and Roma, Ankara has long attempted and in large measure succeeded in the Turkification of the other two ethnic groups.
Ankara believes that the Turkish nation is suffocating within the borders of the state and that it now has the power and means to expand its sphere of influence.
'When we highlight Turkish expansionism in the Eastern Mediterranean we juxtapose it to a degree to what happened between Russia and Ukraine, 'the PM said.
'In response to the “Blue Homeland”, Greece could lay claim to all of Asia Minor and Constantinople. Is it possible in our day and age for leaders and peoples to think in this manner?'
Erdogan has not moved an inch in pursuing a wide array of claims and challenges to Greek sovereignty, and the PM must make tough calls on what more Athens may legitimately negotiate, without compromising sovereignty and national interests.
Athens must grab the opportunity to stand on the side of international law in all circumstances and build a momentum from which it can benefit, with a consensus that one country cannot violate the sovereignty of another.
In his presentation, Dendias offered comprehensive answers to Turkey’s claims with maps illustrating Ankara’s flouting of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece is a peaceful Western country, but without being pliant and complaisant. Through deterrence and decisiveness it sends the analogous signals. Through constant diplomatic pressure, it reminds one that Greece’s borders are the EU’s borders.
Turkey is already a quasi-regional power, despite it great economic problems. It aims to become something more – perhaps a hegemonic power in the regional system and beyond, and naturally it provokes Greece’s righteous indignation.
Even if the Turkish foreign minister disputes the sovereignty of “militarised” Greek Aegean islands, and his Greek counterpart describes the Turkish government’s stance as the “epitome of irrationality, bilateral exploratory talks continue.
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.
Let us not allow outbursts and irresponsibility to prevail in our public statements. Let us leave the oversight of our strategy to the government, as in the past we have paid dearly for the diplomacy of emotion.
Not only with Erdogan and the neo-Ottoman dogma that he follows, but also historically, Turkey in every domestic crisis has proven that that it shifts and shapes it into a dangerous, extroverted stratagem.
'We are decisive, persistent, and capable of protecting both our own rights and interests and those of the TRNC (the occupation regime in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus) in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean,' Akar said.
The popularity of the once most popular Turkish politician is plummeting, and the economic problems of the “regional power” are constantly growing. Inflation and poverty are battering his working class base of support.
Pompeo said he is enthusiastic about the recent US-Greece Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement and that Turkey is undermining security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Yayci is the originator of Ankara’s expansionist “Blue Motherland” theory, which claims large segments of Greece’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for Turkey.
A large majority of respondents expressed approval for Greece’s recent defence agreements with France and the US, especially for the accord with France that included a mutual defence pact.
'The difficulties were a given when the issue was the stability of the euro, and I personally was absolutely cognisant of the excessive burden and challenge that this entailed for the people of Greece. We managed in the end to find a common path, a common pace, for Greece to remain a member of the EU.'
The PM declared that the chancellor has been a voice of logic and though sometimes measures imposed on Greece were unjust, she took decisive decisions at critical moments. He said that in 2015 she rejected Greece’s ostracism from the EU.
In a statement issued prior to Merkel’s arrival, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the German government’s steadfast view is that [Greek-Turkish] problems can be resolved 'only with dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect'.
The diplomacy of kicking the can down the road is not merely counter-productive. It is deleterious. The previously much-touted “status quo” no longer exists. What is needed now is a fighting spirit, decisiveness, and flexibility.
Erdogan's voters are repaid with nationalistic claptrap, with the aim of healing in this manner some of the economic wounds in the everyday life of Turkey’s citizens.
What did Europe learn from the pandemic? It learned that solidarity is measured in actions. When Italy was counting a huge number of deaths, Germany and Poland dispatched groups of doctors to treat patients.
For its part, the EU is pushing “in a gradual manner” its positive agenda (updating of the Customs Union, etc.) aiming, intera alia, at speeding up changes Ankara must undertake on many levels.
Over the last decades Greece and Turkey had alternating periods of lesser or greater tensions. Hence, a coldly calculated approach to diplomacy is one of the greatest advantages and the Greek side should cultivate it.
The two leaders reportedly discussed the migration-refugee issue and the Greek side underlined that the two countries can cooperate as long as the type of provocations we saw in March, 2020, are avoided.
Circumstances necessitate that we see this Summit as a restart of NATO, with Greece as an organic member, after the erratic Trump administration.
With a step-by-step approach, with clear dividing lines with neighbouring Turkey, and with the constant reminder that Greece is a Western country that is a regional pole of stability, we can achieve results.
The main obstacle to an understanding has been the fact that over the decades Ankara has vastly expanded its claims against Greece, ranging from territorial claims to Turkey’s efforts to encroach on Greece’s (and Cyprus’) EEZ.
The Turkish Foreign Minister talks to TO VIMA ahead of his meetings with Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Dendias.
The leadership change in the US and the fluid situation in the Southeastern Mediterranean aggravated the problems posed by Erdogan and that creates the prospect of our country falling into a trap.
Though both sides have long declared publicly that they wish to resume talks, their views on the agenda and limits of such a dialogue are diametrically opposed.
American intervention can protect the status quo in the Eastern Mediterranean and effectively prod Greece and Turkey to return to the negotiating table on an equal footing,
Turkey was well aware of the cost to Greece of being on constant military alert and hoped that this would break Athens' resistance and force it to retreat and accept Ankara's claims.
Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan enjoyed a privileged relationship with Mr. Trump, who never hid his admiration for his Turkish counterpart.
It is evident that the German chancellor has no doubt that Ankara bears the main if not exclusive responsibility for the impasse in efforts to launch a Greek-Turkish dialogue.
Mr. Biden has a lot to do right off the bat for his citizenry. He does not have a magic wand to deal with Greece and the new global realities.
Turkish militarism was entrenched after the revolution of the Young Turks. Earlier, the Germans, who traditionally supported the Turks, played a significant role in creating Turkish nationalism.
Recently Turkey’s interlocutors and allies have sent Ankara strongly critical signals such as having top officials visiting the region without going to Turkey.
If the Greek government plays its cards right and remains calm it can win over even those countries in the EU which at the previous summit refused to draft a list of possible sanctions against Turkey
The outcome of the election in Turkish-occupied Cyprus will have an impact beyond Cyprus and above all on the climate in Greek-Turkish relations.
The government must act very quickly to bolster the health system as aside from SARS-CoV-2 the winter will bring other healthcare challenges as well.
'This is the biggest economic crisis since 1929, but Greece, compared to other European countries, is performing not as bad as it was initially estimated,' the PM declared.
A main opposition party, Syriza, which constantly accuses the government over its handling of Greek-Turkish relations and says that the government does not want a unified national line is not serving the country and its interests.
The second parameter of the Greece-Italy EEZ agreement is the content of the agreement – the right of islands to have sea zone
In managing the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic he positively impressed everyone with his clear judgment, the directness of his choices, and his swift reaction.
Erdogan went as far as to maintain that Turkish-occupied Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey as a state) will split any gas and oil Ankara finds in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus with the Greek-Cypriots.
Greece must not be dragged along by the sensationalist moves that are a staple of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whether he is motivated by expansionism, megalomania or domestic issues..
Now Greek academics, politicians and the media present going to The Hague as the best solution amidst Turkey’s bellicose actions at sea.
The Parliament Speaker also projected a “normnalisation of relations with our threatening neighbour but did not elaborate how that might happen.
The leader of Turkey loses no opportunity to display his aggressiveness. Yesterday he spoke about grey zones in the Aegean (Greek islands whose sovereignty Ankara disputes) and accused Greece and its allies of trying to block Turkey’s access to the sea. He announced that he will bolster Ankara’s military support for the government of Libya. Athens responds to this intransigence with the Agreement of the Four in which it is joined by Israel, Egypt, and Cyprus for the construction of the EastMed pipeline. Greece is also taking initiatives in the Middle East such as the foreign minister’s trip to Libya and Egypt yesterday. Along with these moves the government must not forget that Turkey will remain our neighbour. Hence, channels of communication must remain open not in order to make bilateral agreements on issues (mainly of sovereignty) that divide the countries and which Athens has always considered non-negotiable, but rather to make it possible for Greece and Turkey to eventually go to the International Court of Justice to resolve issues that the two sides have agreed to in advance. There are many obstacles in such a course. The Greek political class fears the political cost that reviving this issue will have. The Turkish political class, which theoretically does not rule out such an eventuality in fact places so many preconditions that make such a solution prohibitive. That does not mean that diplomacy must resign itself to the current situation and problems. A military clash would be disastrous for both countries. Greece is also taking initiatives in the Middle East such as the foreign minister’s trip to Libya and Egypt yesterday.
Though the defence of sovereign rights is a paramount aim, nothing and no one should drag the country down pathways that diverge from post-war European mores such as the avoidance of armed conflict,.
Yet when one goes from theory to the reality on the ground, one cannot but wonder how that aim can be achieved when Turkey is attempting to to create in a totally arbitrary manner a corridor in the Mediterranean.
'SYRIZA has become their [terrorists'] refuge. Consequently, we expect you to take a stand. Your support will strengthen our support for you.,' Erdogan said he told Mitsotakis.
The dialogue with Turkey must continue even if the positions of the Greek side are of those of one crying in the wilderness.
Mitsotakis told Erdogan that the Turkey-Libya MOU on delimiting the two countries' EEZs is legally null and void.
The last decades have demonstrated that despite expressions of friendship Turkey’s policies, demands, and threats remain steadfast.
Greece can lead the effort to bring along its Balkan partners on an outward-looking path of self-confidence.
Mitsotakis noted that the situation inherited by his government in the economy was is not rosy but that it will be possible to implement its policies due to an over-performance in revenues during the last two months.
Either a country can be dragged into power plays and sabre-rattling or it acts in a calm and prudent manner with knowledge of its geopolitical position and interenational alliances.
You will say Erdogan is in power today. Certainly, Turkey has changed. What will not change unto the ages is that Turkey is our neighbour and will always be.
It is the first condemnation of Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean since New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis took power and appointed veteran conservative MP Nikos Dendias, an attorney, as foreign minister.
The paramount concern of the current government must be not to let an issue involving exploitation of energy resources turn into a Greek-Turkish clash.
One can safely assume that Turkey’s tactics – which include sabre-rattling and provocations – will escalate in the immediate future.
Athens must not become isolated and limit the handling of tensions fueled by Ankara to the framework of a Greek-Turkish dispute. Greece has every reason to behave as a member of the EU and Nato.
The government and the opposition, trapped in a ruthless political clash just ten days before the European Parliament election, are downplaying or even ignoring Turkey’s evolving and escalating hostility in the region. With constant manoeuvres, Erdogan is disputing the status quo in the Eastern Mediterranean and seeking an opportunity to advance what he views as his interests. He has pressed forward with gas exploration in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic zone with a rather tepid international response. He formalised his claims by summoning the diplomats of neighbouring countries, including Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece. He is pressing on with huge military exercises and loses no opportunity to violate Greek airspace. If one factors in the tensions in the broader region – with attacks on ships and the open conflict between the US and Iran – it is clear that the situation is becoming explosive. The Greek government’s statements of condemnation obviously do not address the issue, nor does a merely formal alignment of the government and the opposition suffice to confront Ankara’s provocations. Unfortunately, domestic political polarisation does not permit the hammering out of a unified national line that can address current threats and provide a long-term national strategy. Pressured by domestic economic problems and his party’s loss of the Istanbul mayoralty, Erdogan is seeking a way out of his impasse abroad so as to rally his domestic political base. Erdogan is unpredictable and volatile and thus there is a danger that he might provoke a crisis that could easily spin out of control. There is enough military firepower gathered in the Eastern Mediterranean to pose the risk of triggering an explosion at any moment. The leader of the American superpower is also unstable and unpredictable enough to provoke a crisis in the region in order to flex his muscle. Meanwhile, the fact that the European Union is almost paralysed and unable at the moment to take bold decisions further complicates the situation. In Greece, the necessary national understanding is being undermined by the frenzied electoral campaign. The prime minister, who should have taken the initiative to rally political forces so as to forge a national strategy, is preoccupied with his struggle to cling to power at all costs. The result is that Greece is drifting and monitoring events as a bystander instead of seeking alliances and fending off designs and provocations. Though there is absolutely no room for complacency, we are preoccupied with polarising domestic clashes instead of seeking the basis for an understanding at least on national issues that have bedeviled us for decades. The government and the opposition, trapped in a ruthless political clash just ten days before the European Parliament election, are downplaying or even ignoring Turkey’s evolving and escalating hostility in the region.
The activity of the Turkish marine seismographic survey ship “Barbaros” in Cyprus' EEZ shows that Ankara will yet again use provocations to achieve its goals.
'Despite our good will we shall do whatever is necessary to defend our rights and just positions and we shall respond,' Akar, the former chairman of Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.