Greece needs a sound ‘containment strategy’

As always in his analyses, Costas Iordanidis (in his May 8 commentary «Avoiding a head-on clash with Turkey») highlights important points regarding the troubled relations between Turkey, a bona fide aggressor power, and Greece, a status-quo power. He notes that «even if Turkey were to become more amenable to cooperation with Greece with a view to resolving longstanding disputes in the Aegean, it is by no means certain that any initiative taken would work in Greece’s favor.» This is a big «if,» as Greece’s strategies were (and still are) conducive to Turkey’s behavior. In fact, Greece’s downright metaphysical approach to international relations is unique in the Western world. The claim that we make concessions now in the hope that Turkey will behave (ontologically speaking) like a Western state in an ill-defined future (20-40 years?) would be meaningful if Greece had real deterrence. This point is proved by the fact that every time Greece has made a concession, Turkey has answered with aggression and more claims. The list is long and well-known. As long as Greece lacks any coherent strategy of containment, including superior military capability, Turkey will legitimize its claims within the EU. A state like Greece that cannot defend its space will be Finlandized and replaced. Such is reality in international relations. If anything, the 50-plus-year experience within NATO should have been a lesson. Who can guarantee that Turkey will not continue its expansionist policies when it integrates with Europe? The signs so far are ominous. NIKOS PAPANIKOLAOU, Columbia University, NY.

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