Monday April 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Looking beyond our borders

By Costas Iordanidis

While the two-party coalition government in Athens fights battles on many different fronts – including more recently with Greece’s international creditors – on the other side of the Aegean, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dreaming of the rebirth of the Ottoman Empire.

Disappointed by Europe’s stance toward Turkey’s aspirations to join the bloc, he has cast his mind back to the year 1354, when the Ottomans invaded Thrace in the first leg of their conquest of Europe.

Swept up in his vision, Erdogan recently claimed that “Thrace is Thessaloniki but at the same time it is Komotini and Xanthi. It is also Kardzhali and the Vardar River. Going further back, it is Skopje, Pristina and Sarajevo,” he said.

The path to Europe, though, can no longer be forced open by hordes of janissaries. Its opening depends on the adoption of European ways. To be fair, Europe is also no longer as attractive as it once was for Turkey given the economic and political crisis it is experiencing.

The West has viewed Erdogan as a special case for several years. His foreign policy, as represented by Ahmet Davutoglu, in particular, has been a complete failure. His much-lauded axiom of “zero problems” with Turkey’s neighbors has been partially applied and then only in regard to Greece.

Nevertheless, Greece does not have the luxury of distance from Turkey as do most of its European Union peers, and Ankara’s nostalgia for a bygone era, however far-fetched it may sound, could also herald a fresh crisis between the two nations at a time when Turkey is feeling particularly powerful, even though the economic boom of the past few years seems to be on the wane.

The truth is that war between the two countries has been narrowly averted on several occasions since the mid-1950s and that was mainly thanks to the intervention of the United States, which some say is showing signs of disengagement from the region.

Whether this is true or not, Greece needs to start giving its foreign policy greater priority, especially as it is about to assume the rotating presidency of the EU. This presents an excellent opportunity for the government to strengthen its international image.

The agenda for the Greek presidency does not contain anything really exciting – probably for the best – but this does not mean that developments in the region will stand still. The situation in Ukraine is getting very heated indeed and relations between the EU and Russia are strained. It is likely that the issues dividing them will emerge stronger during the Greek presidency.

Policy interests may have become very one-dimensional at home but that is hardly the case when we look beyond Greece’s borders.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday December 11, 2013 (20:28)  
The placebo effect and the economy
Ukraine is a crisis—but not a Cold War
Transparency of political party funding
Historical baggage
Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in north Cyprus
Hundreds of Greek Orthodox pilgrims, some coming home after 40 years of forced exile, commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus in a rare Good Friday service in northern Cyprus. Held in this med...
Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
Greece officially offered on Thursday to assist Turkey in its efforts to locate and salvage a Turkish Air Force fighter jet which crashed in the Aegean almost 20 years ago. Greek Defense Min...
Inside News
Eurobank share offering on April 25-29
Greece's third largest lender Eurobank, which is issuing new shares to help plug a capital shortfall, said on Friday that the cash call will take place from April 25 to 29. The transaction o...
PPC to issue corporate bond of 500 mln
Public Power Corporation is planning to tap the markets after Easter with the issue of a corporate bond to draw 500 million euros. The Energy Ministry is also eagerly awaiting the issue, as ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Greens lose badly as CSKA Moscow
Panathinaikos has a mountain to climb in order to reach the Final Four of the Euroleague after losing at CSKA Moscow on Friday for a second time in two days, only this time it was comprehens...
BASKETBALL
Former Red Bourousis wrecks Olympiakos´s hopes for a break
Olympiakos tried harder in Game 2 of the Euroleague play-offs in Spain, and Real Madrid was not as good on Thursday as in Game 1, but the Spaniards still emerged victorious on the night with...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in north Cyprus
2. Eurobank share offering on April 25-29
3. Greens lose badly as CSKA Moscow
4. Former Red Bourousis wrecks Olympiakos´s hopes for a break
5. PPC to issue corporate bond of 500 mln
6. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
more news
Today
This Week
Today
This Week
1. Greece's market return mirrors return of tourists
2. Parties start announcing candidates for European Parliament elections
3. Greece startup leaders say they can’t break jobless cycle alone
4. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
5. IMF's Thomsen says Greece not fully financed to 2016
6. Mayoral candidates clash over Athens mosque plans
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.