No reciprocity

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has compounded his earlier mistake by canceling his August visit to Ankara. Had the conservative leader not changed his mind, he would have had to engage in talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid Ankara’s loud declarations that it won’t recognize EU-member Cyprus, that it won’t withdraw its troops from the northern section of the island, and that it won’t back down on its threats should Athens extend its territorial waters (in line with international law). Karamanlis and Erdogan would have also discussed bilateral issues in general (also known as «low politics») and Turkey’s EU membership ambitions – which Greece supports anyway. And this at a time that the Turkish prime minister refuses to reopen the Halki religious seminary and is doing nothing to ease pressure from the deep state on the Phanar and the ethnic Greek population. Finally, Karamanlis’s visit would have taken place under the threat of air space violations by Turkish jets. (Athens took little comfort in reassurances by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gull that Ankara would keep its aircraft on the ground during the visit.) Given that Greece does not mind the current impasse in Greek-Turkish relations and in light of Turkey’s claims over Greece (plus, at least for some analysts, Erdogan’s failure to keep the military leadership on a tight rein), the prime minister’s trip to Ankara might have produced the opposite of what was intended.

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