A frozen policy

The Greek government has «frozen» its attempts to thrash out solutions to longstanding problems with neighboring Turkey, deeming that the time is not right to do so. For a long time now, Athens has been concealing its resentment when faced with every fresh provocation by Ankara. But Greece’s policy of maintaining a calm and collected approach, with its eye on long-term gains, will become harder to maintain from now on as Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union get under way. It will not be easy for Athens to keep its cool and maintain a facade of indifference if Ankara maintains its aggressive stance while on its course toward EU membership. Indeed, Athens will find itself hard-pressed not to react if Ankara refuses to meet EU obligations on matters that concern Greek or Greek-Cypriot interests. Nor will it be easy for Athens to separate the progress of EU-Turkish dialogue from ongoing negotiations aimed at averting a possible crisis in the Aegean. If the Greek government fails to draw up an alternative policy toward Ankara – to implement in the event of Turkish aggressiveness or intransigence being displayed during EU talks – then it will have to resort to offering unprepared, piecemeal responses to likely challenges by its neighbor.T