Continuing tactic of taming the beast

Only those who seek refuge in delusion could have believed that the launch of accession talks with Turkey would signal a shift in its foreign policy. The truth is that Ankara has made no secret of its intentions over the past year. Indeed, despite its need for the approval of both Greece and Cyprus to set it on the road to EU membership, it has not only failed to show any signs of good will but has actually scaled up its provocations. Evidently, the aim of the Turkish government was to start EU talks with all its claims in the Aegean on the table and with no compromise on its policy on Cyprus. Greece, meanwhile, has not changed its course. The objections and clashes of Monday’s parliamentary debate may have been couched in strong terms but they obviously were in line with the government’s overall strategy. The tactic of «taming the beast» was first used by PASOK’s Costas Simitis and his then foreign minister, George Papandreou. The current government is simply perpetuating the same strategy in its own way. However, we have achieved very little with this policy. Even its staunchest supporters cannot deny this; that is why they advocate patience, speaking of positive changes in the future. In reality, the only positive consequence of Athens’s numerous overtures to and support of Ankara is that the strain in bilateral ties is less intense than in the past.

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