OPINION

An awkward PR stunt

The visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Greece is an awkward public relations stunt. Davutoglu failed in his attempt to justify the provocative and dangerous behavior of his country?s air and naval forces in the Aegean Sea.

Davutoglu?s proposal to lift Ankara?s casus belli against Athens in return for a commitment by the Greek government that it will not extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, from the current 6 miles, contradicted earlier gestures by Ankara.

In a recent resolution, Turkish deputies backed the casus belli clause in a bid to dissuade the Greek administration from extending the country?s territorial waters. Davutoglu came across as trying to disguise an old threat as a goodwill gesture. One would expect more from a politician of his caliber.

In respect to Davutoglu?s novel idea that Greece?s southeastern Aegean island of Kastelorizo lies in the Mediterranean, someone ought to remind the Turkish foreign minister that the island in question belongs to the Dodecanese. Sovereignty over the Dodecanese, a group of 12 islands that were under Italian sovereignty, was passed to Greece in 1945. Furthermore, when Turkey ceded the Dodecanese islands to the Italians in 1912, the two sides also demarcated the sea borders around these islands.

Davutoglu is probably concerned that because of Kastelorizo?s geographical location, establishing a so-called exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will effectively unify the EEZs of Greece and Cyprus and thus isolate Turkey.

But this is a different problem and it cannot be solved by locating Kastelorizo somewhere in the Mediterranean, as it were.

That said, the principal objectives of Davutoglu?s visit to Greece seems to have been his visit to Thrace, in the north of the country, his meeting with representatives of the Muslim population in the region and his visit to the house of the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Thessaloniki — all precious publicity stuff for TV audiences back home. General elections, after all, are around the corner and Davutoglu is expected to run as a candidate for the first time.

It?s worth noting that Davutoglu?s visit was met with tension in Thrace. It seems that the closer we get, the more we find standing between us. Politicians on both sides of the Aegean should rather let the markets do the job, as the former have failed for decades.