Turkey is demanding that Greece not ask for help from others and not involve the European Union in their disputes. This was recently repeated by the foreign and defense ministers of Greece’s eastern neighbor.
However, the “demand” ignores an important parameter that is part of the equation of Greek-Turkish relations; that Greece is an equal member of a union and acts as such in matters that concern it.
The differences that Canada may have with the US state of Maine or that Cuba may have with Florida obviously concern the whole of the United States.
One would reasonably argue that the EU is not – yet – the United States of Europe, as envisioned by Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet. However, it exists, and for the last 70 years it has been moving forward – with setbacks, with successes and failures, with delays, but forward – on a path of unification.
Greece does not operate independently of the other 26 member-states of the Union to which it belongs. The country may be dissatisfied with certain behaviors or decisions, but it is a loyal member of the European family. When the Greek president, the prime minister, or any ministers speak, they have behind them not only the Greek flag, but also the European one.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on Greece to seek solutions in the East Med through dialogue with Turkey instead of trying to “drag” the EU into the issue. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked his Greek counterpart to “stop asking for help from others and injuring the Greek people’s dignity.” But the EU is not “others.” It’s us.
We know that our partners will not fight our own war. This we will be called upon to do ourselves, with the Rafales, the F-16s Viper and the rest of the Hellenic Air Force fighter jets, the submarines, the entire Greek fleet, and the Army. By the way, it would be good if some refrained from adopting derogatory descriptions when referring to the Hellenic Armed Forces. Any comparisons, and especially qualitative ones, do not justify such arrogance. But that’s another discussion, and it’s not in anyone’s interest to reach that point.
What our neighbors need to understand is that Greek-Turkish relations de facto involve the EU. Greece is not just a country with a medium-sized GDP of € 200 billion. It is also a member of a huge economy of €19 trillion. And it does not operate, nor can it be treated, as if it were not a part of it.