Waiting for a date

Athens has been closely following Ankara’s diplomatic efforts to convince Europe that the time has finally come for it to receive a date for launching European Union accession talks. Officials at the Maximos Mansion and the Foreign Ministry are already working out different scenarios for how they should react according to the various possible outcomes of the EU summit in December. What is certain is that there is no expiry date for the rounds of secret «exploratory» talks that have been going on for years between Greek and Turkish diplomats. Even if Turkey succeeds in overcoming the reservations of the French, the German Christian-Democrats, the Austrians, the Dutch and others, and actually ends up securing a date, there is nothing obliging Athens and Ankara to ask The Hague to intervene to resolve outstanding disputes between them. On the contrary, the Greeks believe that talks will continue in a completely different climate if Turkey finds itself in the EU as it will be obliged to be more conciliatory. Such a development would also boost the influence of the Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who would subsequently attempt to reduce the power of the military establishment. Erdogan’s close personal relationship with Greek PM Costas Karamanlis might also help by easing Greek-Turkish tensions and sending a message to the Turkish military, which has been fostering tension in the Aegean for decades for political gain…

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