Wanted: A new national strategy

Critics who had discarded it as a mere publicity stunt were proved wrong. Nicolas Sarkozy, the Gaullist candidate for the French presidency, said that if he wins the election, he will block Turkey’s membership in the European Union regardless of Ankara’s progress on meeting democratic reforms. A French veto combined with Turkey’s domestic malaise would deal a fatal blow to our eastern neighbor’s EU ambitions. Greece has no reason to be happy over this development, nor is it responsible for it. The removal of the longstanding Greek veto at the Helsinki summit in 1999 marked a pragmatic U-turn that was backed by virtually all political parties. But the Helsinki chapter is over. Greece’s political elite does not have the power to determine the policy of the big European state apparatus nor to influence Turkey’s domestic crisis. It does have an obligation, nevertheless, to hammer out a new national strategy based on the new realities on the ground.