Costas Iordanidis COSTAS IORDANIDIS

Faced with a new reality

COMMENT

TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey, Cyprus

After a long effort, the second review of the country’s third bailout has finally been completed, with a heavy toll on future generations. At the same time, tensions have peaked dangerously on the domestic political front.

All this, from one perspective, is nothing but the consequence of Greece’s economic and political ruin which was simply confirmed in 2010. If the problem was confined to this alone, then one could hope that the country could get back on its feet, albeit with much difficulty.

However, developments on Greece’s periphery are of far greater concern. A crisis with unforeseeable consequences is already under way in the Balkans.

The perennial cause of this volatile situation is the fact that after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the only nation that remains fragmented is the Albanian one – in Albania, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The crisis that has been plaguing Skopje is a result of this unresolved issue. As a consequence, the danger of the southwestern Balkans turning into a black hole similar to Ukraine or Syria is be in no way negligible, especially if Moscow gets involved decisively.

However, Turkey undoubtedly remains the main concern. It is a given that we must remain vigilant with regard to Turkey’s activities in the Aegean, but we must also admit that the country has been compromised for years now.

After the crisis of 1987, under Andreas Papandreou’s PASOK government, Greece agreed not to conduct unilateral oil exploration.

Ten years later the Madrid agreement signed by Costas Simitis administration acknowledged Turkey’s “vital interests” in the Aegean.

No one can rule out a military act by Turkey against Greece, but Ankara’s attention is currently focused on the Eastern Mediterranean and the underwater drilling France’s Total and Italy’s Eni will conduct in July.

Turkey’s response has been to reserve areas within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone and the international waters south of Kastelorizo for military exercises with live ammunition.

So having finished with the bailout review, we can now focus on other problems.

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