Humanity and diplomacy

Humanity and diplomacy

I don’t think that any civilized person would disagree with the provision of any form of aid to the earthquake-stricken Turkish and Syrian citizens. It is our obvious duty to our fellow people. Besides, if a similar disaster were to strike our homeland, as has happened in the past, we would also like to receive every help and support possible from countries, organizations and collectives. When there is so much pain, differences and rivalries are put aside.

And yet there are Greeks who did not approve of the aid offered by the government to the Turkish government, as they cannot seem to understand that humanitarianism is one thing and the differences that exist between states are another. They fail to understand that, ultimately, we are helping distraught people to overcome the shock of disaster and save as many human lives as possible. This is what our rescue teams are doing and they are doing it well. It is terrifying seeing Turks and Syrians suffering torturous deaths buried beneath the ruins, defeated by time.

But there is also the other group of people: those who confuse humanitarianism with diplomacy. They believe that extreme natural phenomena can bring governments closer together and set aside long-held claims and revisionist attitudes. I think some of them are ready to go back to the “earthquake diplomacy” of 1999, a policy that has been tried in the past and failed. It may be that back then we put aside our differences temporarily, while the sympathy about the earthquakes that hit both countries lasted but, in the end, geopolitics had the last word. What separated us from our neighbors resurfaced with greater intensity.

Countries do not draw up their foreign policy based on emergency situations, much less if they are natural phenomena. Foreign policy has permanent features intertwined with history and geopolitics.

If those who disagree with the aid that our country is sending to Turkey show their inhumane character, those who expect that Turkey will abandon its long-held claims due to the “earthquake diplomacy” are both daydreamers and ahistorical. Realism is the awareness of the limits of our actions.

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