CLOSE
Loading...
12° Nicosia,
30 November, 2022
 
Home  /  Comment  /  Opinion

Erdogan’s annoyance and his wrong strategy towards Greece

Athens could be a useful bridge to the EU for Turkey

Athanasios Ellis

Athanasios Ellis

A country’s strength is the sum, not only of its military capabilities, but also of its collaborations and alliances. Greece, whether Turkey likes it or not, is a full member of the European Union and has close ties, also due to the Greek diaspora, with the United States.

As has been pointed out many times, no other country will fight our war. If we ever find ourselves in such a situation it will be our ability to defend ourselves that will count. That said, the close ties – institutional and traditional – with the two largest economic entities on the planet are an important parameter of the equation that no competitor or opponent can ignore.

Erdogan has so many problems, domestically and abroad. Why is he wasting so much time attacking Greece, a strategy from which he will not reap any benefits?

It is incomprehensible that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be upset about Greece’s defense deals with France and the US, the purchase of Rafale jets and the upgrading of the F-16s, the mutual assistance clause included in the Greek-French agreement, the letter by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken which describes Greece as a pillar of stability in the region and speaks of respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He is annoyed by the American presence in Alexandroupoli and elsewhere in Greece.

The Turkish president would gain, both personally and more importantly for his people, if, instead of threats and irritation, he strived for full normalization of relations with Greece. The restoration of a calmer climate of cooperation with Greece would remove a thorn in his relationship with the West.

We both have to gain from keeping waters calm in the Aegean. In such an environment, Athens would act as Ankara’s partner and as a useful bridge to the EU.

Erdogan has so many problems, domestically and abroad. Why is he wasting so much time attacking Greece, a strategy from which he will not reap any benefits?

The constant confrontation with Greece has a cost for Turkey, hence the Turkish president’s annoyance. Obviously, it costs Greece as well – defense procurements take a financial toll.

But his approach is wrong. It may have found an audience with Turkish nationalists, primarily the MHP leader and his ally Devlet Bahceli’s supporters, but it does not serve the long-term interests of his country, which hopes for a special relationship with the European Union.

If he removes the casus belli against Greece from the table, if he does not threaten Greece in the Aegean, if he does not sign memoranda with Libya that violate the sovereign rights of Greek islands, if he does not violate the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus – also an EU member – then a lot can happen. Because, as a people, Greeks and Turks we really have a lot in common, and as states we can also develop common interests.

What is certain, is that no Greek prime minister, even if he intended to take steps that his predecessors have avoided, will do so under the threat of war. It would be self-destructive.

On the other hand, if Erdogan changes his tactics, if he stops fueling tensions, if he approaches Athens as an equal interlocutor, recognizing its strength and regional role, then Greece will respond. And that will be to the benefit of both countries.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Greece  |  Turkey

Opinion: Latest Articles

[AP]

Merchants of Death

Human traffickers could soon outnumber drug traffickers in the country’s (Greece's) prisons
Opinion
 |  OPINION
'Woman, life, freedom!’

'Woman, life, freedom!’

'Isn’t there an obvious contradiction that a country claiming to be a democracy has a special police force tasked with carrying ...
Opinion
 |  OPINION
The embargo has its own history

The embargo has its own history

'It is outrageous that US support for the illegal Turkish military occupation continues while the embargo on the victim ...
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Photo courtesy Unsplash

Winter, Putin's ally

Twice in the history of Europe, two Great Powers on the continent attempted to crush Russia, but winter saved her
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Penalizing Russia

Penalizing Russia

The solidarity shown by the entire EU with regards to penalizing Russia inevitably has limitations.
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Members of feminist organizations hold placards outside the Athens Court of Appeals on February 14, 2022, during the trial over the murder of student Eleni Topaloudi by two men on Rhodes in 2018.

Femicide and punishment

A life sentence cannot really mean for life, but it cannot mean 16 years in jail for certain heinous criminal behaviors ...
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Solving Cyprus

Solving Cyprus

A solution to the Cyprus issue will go a long way toward facilitating Ankara’s goal of playing an important role in the ...
Athanasios Ellis
 |  OPINION
X