NEWS

‘Only history’ divides Greece and Turkey

Last month Costas Karamanlis was the first Greek prime minister to visit Turkey in half a century. In 1991 the then Greek and Turkish prime ministers Constantine Mitsotakis and Turgut Ozal almost found a solution to the Cyprus issue that would have led to a normalization of Greek-Turkish relations. But the Turkish system collapsed. There have been similar efforts in the past, but now a new one is needed. What was George Bush senior’s view of Greece? He had great respect for Mitsotakis, whom he considered a very good friend. He did not feel the same way about all of his predecessors. Could Karamanlis and (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan succeed in doing what Mitsotakis and Ozal failed to do? I think so. The former UN secretary-general was close to a solution and something like this has to work. It will if Greece and Turkey exert pressure on the two communities on the island. Why was the Annan proposal, to which I presume you are referring, rejected? The important thing is that everyone has to make compromises. The way the world is today, Greece and Turkey are evolving into natural leaders. Only history divides them.