OPINION

Who’s confused?

PASOK’s hasty criticism of the government’s policy on Turkey does no service to Greek foreign policy. Socialist leader George Papandreou is trying to point out the mistakes of his political rival and has charged the new administration with «confusion on national issues» ahead of any developments. This is a very myopic stand, given that Costas Karamanlis’s policy on Ankara is a continuation of one followed by the «reformist» PASOK after 1996. Since then, Simitis’s government was swift to make a number of overtures expected to improve ties and boost Turkey’s European prospects. Note that all this took place while the Cyprus and Aegean disputes remained unresolved. Ankara’s intransigence persisted, and air space violations continued. Moreover, while Papandreou, at that time foreign minister, was dancing the zeibekiko to please his Turkish counterpart, he was firm on distancing Greek-Turkish ties from the Cyprus problem. Hence any comments from Papandreou on the government’s foreign policy are premature. The party that initiated the «step-by-step improvement» of Greek-Turkish relations in 1996, went on to recognize Turkey’s «vital interests» in the Aegean, and which reached the point, at Helsinki, of recognizing the existence of «border disputes» between the two states, cannot possibly accuse a two-month-old government of being submissive. Notwithstanding some minor objections, New Democracy fell behind the policy of the former Socialist government. So who is confused?