The ‘female George’ and ties with Turkey

Of the many different reactions to the appointment of Dora Bakoyannis as foreign minister, the most interesting is that of the Turkish media. But, of course, in Ankara they have their reasons for calling Bakoyannis «the female George.» The similarities in the refined manner of Bakoyannis and PASOK’s former FM George Papandreou are obvious. The crucial difference between the two politicians is that Bakoyannis’s scope to maneuver is more restricted. During Papandreou’s term as FM, there were great hopes for a constructive rapprochement between Greece and Turkey. But these hopes have all but faded away. The Turks believe it is now time to lock in their diplomatic advantages. As we were reminded by Turkey’s military Chief of Staff Hilmi Ozkok, Ankara is focused on its strategy of expansion. The fact that Athens helped to secure the launch of Ankara’s accession talks with the European Union did not inspire any shift in Turkey’s strategy. In reality, Ozkok has done nothing more than stick to the framework of Turkey’s national security policy, as approved during last October’s session of the National Assembly. The above document may not refer to Greece as a hostile country, but it does describe the Aegean as a potential crisis region. Indeed, it is noted that Greece extending its territorial waters beyond 6 miles would be cause for war. The way the Turks are behaving toward Greece and Cyprus is a message to both these countries but also to the EU. They are making it clear that they will not tolerate EU pressure to change their stances. In view of this, Greece has no reason to make efforts on the bilateral level. It should rather await the outcome of Ankara’s accession talks; it will then have plenty of chances to oblige Ankara to face up to its contradictions.