The legacy of peace is the best example

General, do you think that a major crisis between Greece and Turkey is likely or can we eventually find ways of genuinely reducing tension in the Aegean? We certainly can. No, no, we don’t want a crisis. And we are seeking ways. My behavior shows that. I have come to Greece three times in two-and-a-half years. Has anything like that happened before? Doesn’t that mean something? We are trying hard. And we will keep going in that direction with Admiral Hinofotis. You must understand that there are obstacles. And we are taking steps. We can’t make leaps. We can’t jump all the obstacles in a moment. But we are taking steps. Important steps. And don’t forget that we are soldiers and we are trying to deal with military problems and create a better environment in which the politicians can advance. It is they who will solve the larger problems. Besides, I would like to tell you something else. The power of the press, of the media, in these matters is immense. Sometimes I say that the power of the press may be greater than the power of tanks or aircraft, because the press shapes public opinion, and that is very important. Do you consider a war between Greece and Turkey likely? No, I don’t. Would you accept the creation of a new state on your borders? I understand what you mean. It is a highly sensitive issue. It isn’t possible. I’m not saying it is necessary to take military action against Iraq and the Iraqi people. Certainly not. I am talking about action against the PKK. And there must be an understanding with the responsible authorities in Iraq. My view, however, is a military view. But any military action first requires a political decision, a political command. There must be a political decision and then we soldiers may start thinking and planning what can be done. So someone on the military side might say that military action is needed. But if that is not «politically correct,» then… As I said, we work within the framework of our role and we stay within that framework. What is your opinion about Turkey’s European Union accession process? I often say that the EU accession process is based on Ataturk himself; where we are and where we are going. Well, Turkey is also part of Europe. But in Europe they must think about certain characteristics. Since you mention Kemal Ataturk, shouldn’t we remember that the legacy left by him and Eleftherios Venizelos for Greece and Turkey is indeed a legacy of peace? You are absolutely right. That’s an excellent point. It is the best example for us. And of course we must remember that it happened at a very difficult time after a major war.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.