OPINION

High time for shift in stance on Turkey

One could hazard a guess that most Greek citizens would have no objections to the drafting of a new strategy toward Turkey that would produce diplomatic successes and resolve contentious issues. But as this need for a new strategy is currently only being promoted by opposition politicians, chiefly by PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou, it is quite clear that the policy we have been pursuing up until now toward Turkey has exhausted all its possibilities and contains no elements of the desired new strategy, which remains elusive. Moreover, criticism of existing Greek-Turkish problems never seems to examine the apparent lack of any good will from the Turkish side. The observations of a handful of opposition politicians all include the assumptions that Athens should be rushing to solve the problems being created by Turkey in the Aegean. These circles regard it as politically natural and necessary that Athens maintain a policy of appeasement toward Ankara but also that it make new overtures to the neighboring country whenever the latter highlights its claims in the Aegean through military activities. But these analysts systematically fail to focus on what is most necessary: namely an assessment, in order of priority, of all the issues that a new strategy on Turkey should comprise. Only then can specific initiatives be rationalized. But irrespective of the opposition’s activities, the government is obliged to take action on at least one issue: that of the casus belli (cause for war) over the Aegean territorial waters that Turkey has yet to revoke. It will be interesting to see if Athens will ever abandon its attitude of tolerance over the absurd perseverance by Turkey in this stance.