OPINION

Grim outlook for Greek-Turkish ties?

If we analyze our stance in respect to Turkey frankly, we can break it down into three key areas: hidden fear, the lack of reliable information and the absence of any real passion for issues of national importance. These are the conclusions of a recent poll carried out by VPRC on behalf of Skai radio in the wake of several significant events with respect to Greek-Turkish relations. First of all, there was the tragic collision of the Greek and Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean on May 23. Then there was the debate – triggered by a letter to Kathimerini written by former president Costis Stephanopoulos – about whether Greece should take its dispute with Turkey to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. And, thirdly, there was the decision by the National Bank of Greece (NBG) to buy a major share in Turkey’s Finansbank – a move questioned more because of the feared «de-Hellenization» of NBG than due to the business risks it entails. According to the VPRC poll, 48 percent of the citizens questioned believe that our relations with Turkey have deteriorated (up from 26 percent in December 2004). All respondents agreed that the Aegean dispute constituted the biggest problem with one in four declaring that it was quite «logical» that Greece and Turkey would go to war «in the next few years.» Two-thirds of respondents said they did not want Turkey in the EU. In short, the public sees that things are not going well with Turkey and that the situation is unlikely to improve. So all we can do is continue to keep our distance, engage in jousting matches over the Aegean and remain in the arms race – which is exactly what some people want.