OPINION

The myth of power

he view that Costas Simitis’s team of reformists has attempted to impose on public opinion is that Greece gained respect on the international stage during Simitis’s term as the country’s prime minister, that there is no longer any cause for concern about the behavior of neighboring states and that whoever disputes this approach is either «insecure» or «xenophobic.» But the government’s attempt to sustain a myth of Greece’s national power was once again undermined when Turkey’s armed forces chief Hilmi Ozkok said that Greece represents a «threat» to his country (despite the extremely moderate stance held by Simitis’s administration opposite Ankara) and that Cyprus «is a security concern» for Turkey. Because Ozkok’s comments have no relation whatsoever to Simitis’s view of Turkish affairs, the Greek government maintained once again that Athens is in talks with Turkey’s political elite, while deliberately overlooking the key role played by the Turkish armed forces in matters of security and foreign affairs. The bitter truth for Simitis, but chiefly for his country, is that Turkey’s prospects for joining the European Union have made no difference whatsoever to the country’s political strategy and that, consequently, the «insecurity» that the Greek government accuses its citizens of feeling is probably quite justified.