In his first public remarks after leaving active politics, during a book presentation, former conservative premier Costas Karamanlis spoke about Greek-Turkish relations. His comments were nothing more than a summary (with the weight of a former prime minister who is also a member of the ruling party) of the framework of the real difficulties created by Turkey’s foreign policy, which remains at its core aggressive and expansionist, in contrast to that of Greece, which focuses on the application of aspects of international law.
Those inside Greece who sincerely desire a rapprochement with Turkey and are willing to take difficult steps and make sensitive compromises have not yet seen any inclinations from the other side that it is willing to retreat from its maximalist positions.
Karamanlis’ remarks, with which a well-intentioned observer inside or outside Greece can hardly disagree, reflect the reticence of Greece’s public opinion and its political system towards Turkey, as they have not received from the latter substantial examples of an intention to reject extreme nationalist and expansionist narratives in the long term.
The difference between the Greek and the Turkish approaches is that the first is based on the principles of international law and the right of self-defense, while that of the latter is part of a revisionist nationalism expressed by the doctrine of the “Blue Homeland.”
It is bordering on the ridiculous for Turkey to claim that Greece, through the shielding of its islands, has ambitions on its territory, at a time when Ankara itself, with public statements, keeps alive the prospect of an invasion and maintains in force a resolution of its National Assembly which threatens Greece with war if it exercises a right deriving from international law.
At the same time, it is clear that the neighboring country aims to “radically overturn the status quo” and “secure a hegemonic role in the wider region of Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East,” and one wonders if this is something that the West is encouraging as a principle or if it considers that it serves its interests in a cold geopolitical approach.
Any positive moves by Turkey – and there have been a few recently – are primarily superficial in nature as part of a temporary “facilitation” of the dialogue. They are welcome, but in no way signal a strategic policy shift, which is a necessary precondition for the normalization of relations to proceed.
Source : Ekathimerini