Disparate policies?

It is well known to all that every defense minister will always refer to Greek-Turkish issues in public in a far stronger tones than those used by his colleagues in the Foreign Ministry. In constant contact with the military chiefs of staff and briefed daily on Turkish «actions» in the Aegean (as Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis would say), defense ministers do not have the luxury for great diplomatic «courtesies» or for particularly mild phrasing of viewpoints. However, this difference in forms of expression – understandable up to a point – has gone too far. Our foreign minister emphatically highlights the readiness of the Greek government to «communicate» with Turkey, throws money around, smiles and socializes with his Turkish counterparts, and takes advantage of every available opportunity to reassure the international community that all Greek-Turkish problems can be solved through «dialogue.» Further, any objectionable incidents in the Aegean or in Cyprus are attributed by the foreign minister to the chiefs of the Turkish military – regarded as a center of power separate from Turkey’s political leadership. In such a diplomatic climate, the defense minister does not simply refer to the very real dangers posed by Turkish airspace violations in the Aegean, but goes so far as to state that due to Turkey, «Greece is the only one of 25 European Union member states facing a major, visible territorial threat,» noting also that «we are entering period of increased tension with Turkey.»

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