Athens should push casus belli issue

Greeks both abroad and at home followed the recent quadrilateral Brussels-Athens-Nicosia-Ankara diplomatic developments with amazement, embarrassment and indignation. At first, there was the fight by the Cypriot side against the mighty UK in the EU’s committee of permanent representatives (COREPER). Then there was the siding of the Austrian presidency with the Cypriot positions which forced the UK to veto. And then the inexplicable silence of the Greek side during the discussion that left everyone wondering. And while the Cypriots were fighting in Brussels, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was socializing with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Istanbul, and reaching no great outcome. And finally the big blow, the suffocating pressure exerted by the Greek side on Cyprus in order to appease Gul and Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Greece has once more failed miserably in the ongoing diplomatic play between the EU and Turkey. Otherwise a versatile linguist, Bakoyannis has obvious difficulties with Latin. She cannot even utter the phrase casus belli. Instead of proposing the revocation of Turkey’s casus belli as a sine qua non for any further discussions between the EU and Turkey, Greece’s FM is enjoying good-neighborly relations according to the Turkish modus cogitandi. Had Greece put the immediate revocation of the casus belli on the EU table, it would be easily accepted. Not even the UK would object. The citizens of the EU would consider it absurd to admit a new member state that threatens an existing member with war. It seems that absurd is the word that describes the foreign policy of Greece toward Turkey. Greek diplomacy, whose reputation is already very bad in the EU and elsewhere, runs the risk of being regarded with absolute contempt and scorn. It seems that the postmodernist scourge has invaded the minds of the administration of the Greek Foreign Ministry. Much energy is spent on creative formulations that mask spectacular failures instead of creating the prerequisites for successful solutions. But instead of expressing indignation, we have to become sober and calmly assess the situation anew. DEMETRIOS BETSIS, Stockholm, Sweden.

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