Marriage with Greece, divorce with Turkey?

Marriage with Greece, divorce with Turkey?

The picture that has been painted for members of the United States government, Congress and in think tanks of Greece and Turkey was illustrated during the annual conference that was organized a few days ago in Washington, DC by Kathimerini, the Delphi Economic Forum and the Hellenic American Leadership Council.

Both during the conference itself, and contacts held on the sidelines, it was made clear that Turkey’s image in Washington has deteriorated significantly over the last decade, to the point where some are referring to a looming “divorce” and in this framework are looking to find the most efficient manner to handle it.

This negative mix includes the deep consternation of the United States’ Jewish community over the behavior of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The United States does not want to lose Turkey from the West, but Erdogan has placed his country on a trajectory of gradually moving away from Western principles and values from which it will not be easily dislodged.

Nobody underestimates the size, population and geographic position of Turkey; however, its maneuvers, not to mention the extreme anti-American and generally anti-West rhetoric emanating from Ankara, lead to frustration and strengthen those who support that a divorce is inevitable.

It is clear that the relations of modern Turkey with the US and the West are not grounded in common values or even common geopolitical stakes. Quite the opposite, it is a transactional relationship that includes demands from both sides that seem increasingly difficult to meet as time goes by, something which is deepening the divide between the sides.

At the same time, concerning Greece, its role as a tangible and not theoretical pillar of stability, in contrast to the uncertainty caused by Turkey’s behavior, and as a trustworthy and predictable ally is being recognized. In the field of geopolitical calculations and strategic cooperations, the latter is a strength and not a weakness as some in Greece mistakenly claim.

Another parameter that was highlighted was that Greek-American relations have gained an independence and a strategic value that is reinforced by the bipartisan consensus noted in Greece, something very important to the US when setting out its long-term planning.

The relevant officials and legislators do not necessarily see the relationship with Athens though the prism of the difficult equation of Greek-Turkish relations. The extent of the danger that radiates from the constant threats leveled by Turkey against Greece is unprecedented, but Greece is now being treated as a close medium-sized ally that is on the front line in an increasingly geopolitically important and volatile region, one in which the United States has decided to strategically invest. Primarily, this includes a stable increase in military cooperation.

In fact, a timely confirmation of the above is the presence of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in Crete and the wider region of the southeast Aegean these days, where it will remain for a while. It sends out a message with multiple recipients, that no one can ignore and which is left to Athens to fully utilize. 

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.