OPINION

Political rift in Turkey

… Some political circles in Athens responded to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz’s recent criticism of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s intransigence on the Cyprus dispute with a sigh of relief, encouraged by the fact that the rift has reached the high ranks of the Turkish political elite. These foreign policy officials, however, miss the fact that Yilmaz, far from provoking the ruling elite in Turkey, is actually serving Ankara’s strategy on the Cyprus problem and other vital issues. This is because, on the grounds of the need to reinforce the pro-European tendency in Turkey (meaning Yilmaz, or Turgut Ozal and Bulent Ecevit in the past) our European peers will recommend toleration and will probably intensify their pressure on Greece to display a more conciliatory stance and make concessions. Monitoring Turkey’s domestic developments is an obligation for every Greek administration. However, the attempt to comprehend Turkey’s domestic political environment should not deflect our attention from the armed forces, the fundamental pole of solidarity in that country. Turkey’s politicians, intellectual circles, and entrepreneurs may be deeply concerned over the country’s course but they only play a subordinate role when compared to the military. And Turkey’s military elite has given no sign that it intends to cede the prerogative of foreign-policymaking or that it has changed its views on the Cyprus issue…