Suspended legacy

Constantine Karamanlis, Andreas Papandreou, Constantine Mitsotakis and Costas Simitis, all former PMs, have one thing in common: They all thought they could go down in history by settling the longstanding Greek-Turkish dispute. They all failed. Costas Karamanlis, the current conservative premier, also appears to have been let down by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reluctance to take a decisive step in bilateral relations. The days when Karamanlis was best man at the wedding of Ergogan’s daughter are a thing of the past. Bilateral relations are at a low and the threat of a dangerous incident remains. If history is any guide, crises in relations between two countries invariably appear when one is dogged by political instability. In September 1955 Alexandros Papagos was ill, while the Imia crisis broke out when Simitis was still fresh in office. Today, tension between Erdogan and the «deep state» is soaring while Karamanlis is well into a pre-election period. In such circumstances, there can be no substantial progress in Greek-Turkish relations. On the other hand, there are people such as former foreign minister Petros Molyviatis who believe there is no reason for the administration to rush into an agreement that would, at best, worsen the status quo for Greece. It’s a viewpoint that should not be dismissed without careful consideration. Nevertheless, Karamanlis aspired to be the first premier to resolve the problem. Such a success would be the high point of his political career. But it’s a very complicated task, since one has to be sure about who really holds power in Ankara, the mood in Brussels and one’s own room for maneuver. Against this background, the sole politician with a clear political strategy is Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos, whose tactics, irrespective of any specific policy objections, seem to be paying off on a political and geostrategic level.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.