It’s an indisputable fact that the constant and constantly escalating Turkish expansionist pressure is causing irritation and haphazard moves on the part of Athens. One such move was the tripartite meeting that took place, under the initiative and mediation of Germany, between the director of the Greek PM’s diplomatic office, and the representative and close associate of the Turkish President.
By STAVROS LYGEROS
The fact that Mehmet Cavusoglu, hastened to divulge this “secret” meeting, highlights that Turkey had reasons to exploit the event. These reasons are evident. When Turkey is subjected to global pressure over its decision to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the fact that it is talking with Greece, the country which has the most historical ties with the monument is a reason to dull the pressure it is under (not as much as it should be engendering, but in any case, that which it is receiving). And this is an argument which Ankara is adopting to avoid any sanctions from the Eu.
In any event, it is a mainstay of Turkish diplomacy when it creates a fait accompli to immediately call for dialogue to create a climate of acceptance for its actions. This was a mistake on the part of Athens, made in its angst to deter the looming crisis. I am referring to Ankara’s announcement that it will conduct research just off Greek territorial waters in the Kastellorizo – Rhodes – Crete arc.
The Greek side has said in various tones that it will react if its national sovereign rights are violated. However, this message was never as clear as it should have been. As a result, decision makers in Ankara formed a different view, believing that Greece will not react, and that if it attempts in some way to hinder Turkish research, a limited hot incident will take place, which will force Greece to back down.
One good thing
This is the prevalent view in Ankara. This is not a haphazard conclusion. It has been formulated through the wrong messages sent by Athens. The good thing in this erroneously handled diplomatic issue, and I am referring to the tripartite meeting, is the message conveyed by the very respected Greek diplomat, responsible for the PM’s diplomatic office, Eleni Sourani, to Erdogan’s close associate Ibrahim Kalin.
The message Ms Sourani conveyed, according to information that cannot be disputed, is that Greece is reolute in responding, even with the use of its armed forces, in order to defend its sovereign rights. What is equally important is that her Turkish interlocutor said that in Ankara it is believed that Greece is not going to react in such a manner.
The fact that the PM’s diplomatic advisor conveyed the message of Greek decisiveness, on behalf of the Prime Minister himself, is very significant, as it forces Turkey to rethink the impressions they had formed, for which, as I said, Athens was responsible. This is one way to avoid reaching the end of the rope.
The desire of Germany was to avert a Greek – Turkish confrontation during its presidency of the EU, is not reason enough to avoid such an event. Erdogan has proven that if he is true to anything it’s to his personal strategic agenda.