The dialogue on national issues should be conducted without hypocrisy or bickering. At the moment, that is what it is characterized by, which is extremely worrying.
Let’s start with hypocrisy. Experienced politicians with long careers are expressing views on Greek-Turkish issues. Most of them are people who have held positions of responsibility and have handled those issues, directly or indirectly. When one hears them talk again and again about past mistakes and opportunities missed, one wonders, “And where were you back then? What did you do about them?”
Their arguments would obviously be more convincing if they contained a modicum of self-criticism – something that Greek politicians unfortunately avoid. The same applies for criticism voiced over the handling of sensitive, difficult issues. Anyone who has governed and supports the submission of coordinates or the declaration of a Greek exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the expansion of our territorial waters to 12 miles, who criticizes the failure to reach an agreement with Egypt or Cyprus should first explain why they did not succeed while they were in power, either with PASOK, New Democracy or SYRIZA. A suspicious person would also add that an answer is needed to the question of why successive governments have not invested even a little in the – if not desperate then at least necessary – upgrade of the Hellenic Armed Forces.
Today we are at a crossroads. Ankara will keep inviting Greece to an unconditional dialogue on all bilateral issues in an effort to prove that it is Athens who is not sitting at the negotiating table. Turkey is well aware, of course, that no Greek government can agree to negotiate the demilitarization of the islands or the sovereignty of islets and inhabited islands. None. When the impasse has been established, Ankara will test us in the coming months. It will send a research vessel between Rhodes and Kastellorizo. Its goal will be either to increase the pressure on Greece to negotiate in order to avoid a possible “incident,” or to negotiate after an “incident.”
In this climate, I disagree with those who are trying to write history now for something that is still in the future. This isn’t the time. The worst that can happen is underground tension between Athens and Nicosia or getting involved in a public debate about what is a maximalist demand and what is not as a starting point for national negotiations. We look like a bunch of amateur soccer players who, before walking onto the pitch for a crucial match, quarrel on TV over tactics. We reveal our own weaknesses and domestic disputes, while the opponent is listening, maybe even laughing.