Temporary relief

Temporary relief

On Wednesday, the state-of-the-art Abdulhamid Han drilling ship sailed from the port of Mersin in southern Turkey to conduct hydrocarbons exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Athens breathed a sigh of relief when, during the inauguration ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the drilling would be carried out on the boundary of the Gulf of Antalya, within Turkey’s continental shelf.

According to one view, the choice of the “milder scenario” chosen by Erdogan in the first voyage of the Abdulhamid Han is due to the intervention of the United States in order not to jeopardize the unity of NATO in one of the most critical phases of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

This is certainly a possible scenario, in line with the prevailing perception that Greece has secured the support of Washington and some powerful European Union countries, against Ankara’s provocations.

However, it would be appropriate to keep in mind that, for Turkey, the governments of Athens and Nicosia are nothing more than “puppets,” with whom Erdogan refuses to conduct any dialogue, and that he addresses mainly those “holding the strings” in the context of a continuous negotiation. This was the political “message” Erdogan implied from Mersin.

It is indicative that in more or less 70 years of numerous Greek-Turkish crises, instead of pursuing bilateral dialogue – even with a mediator – Ankara essentially called on the US and some powerful European powers to consider the special weight of Turkey compared to Greece’s. With the aim, of course, of a “final settlement” of all the issues that have accumulated over decades.

This is not just a megalomaniacal policy of Erdogan, which can hardly be ruled out anyway, but a policy entirely accepted by all political forces in Turkey – with the exception of course of the Kurdish party.

We are at the beginning of a painful process, which started a few years ago and will go through many stages in the future. It is also a time when everything has turned upside down in the global balance of power.

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