Athens sees a quiet summer in the Aegean

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By Dimitris Katsaganis

A diplomatic marathon of almost two months. Starting with the Prime Minister’s visit to the White House and the summit meeting with President Biden. The European Council and Mr. Mitsotakis’ contacts with his counterparts, such as the Chancellor of Germany and the Prime Minister of Italy, are intermediate stops. And the final stop at the NATO Summit, in Madrid, which closed at noon on Thursday.

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Amid the revisionist rhetoric of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the verbal outbursts of top officials of its neighbor, Athens informed allies and partners about the new waves of Turkish provocations. It strengthened its international footprint. She presented her positions. And in his work… appointment in the capital of Spain, he appeared, once again, as a force of stability and security in a critical region of the world map, showing that he is the one who insists on keeping open the door of dialogue with Ankara. A dialogue, however, that needs two, of course, to take place. And, of course, not under the threat regime. But, with International Law as a compass.

The estimations

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Mr. Mitsotakis made it clear in Madrid. “We want Turkey to be an interlocutor. We don’t want a Turkey that doesn’t talk to anyone,” he said. Athens, as is to be expected, if Ankara chooses to continue… a cycle of delinquency, it will raise the specific issue that is negatively ionizing the environment in the Southeast Mediterranean in all fora. And the next step comes on Tuesday. With the Prime Minister’s speech to the European Parliament. The pursuit of dialogue does not mean that Greece will turn a blind eye to Turkish provocation and revisionism. Calm waters in the Aegean remain a big issue. And, according to estimates, the summer will be quiet in the field. “There is no movement right now. In 2020 we had it. Now, we have nothing. We don’t see any movement,” commented government sources.

Positive sign

After the curtain fell on the NATO Summit in the capital of Spain, Athens evaluates the two-day work. And the sign, as was seen in the press conference given by the prime minister, is positive. At the geopolitical level, the Greek diplomatic marathon produced, according to the estimates of government sources, tangible results. President Erdoğan, despite the reason and deed of détente against our country even a few hours before the Madrid meeting, not only did not raise his well-known threatening crowns in the discussions of the leaders, but on the contrary, as Athens notes, he received signal from President Biden that there will be no escalation in the Aegean. “The press release of the White House was very clear. A clear message that tensions should be avoided in the Aegean, but also in Syria. I think a direct exhortation to Turkey to return to the dialogue table and avoid extreme rhetoric, which we have, unfortunately, suffered in the last months. In none of the many discussions we had during this Summit, no issue at all was raised by Turkey, which concerns the projection of its own arguments at the expense of Greece. This is what I think that says something, to what extent these arguments can really stand in an international environment, such as that of NATO”, noted Mr. Mitsotakis.

This is the second… resounding bell of partners and allies in Ankara. The text of the Conclusions of the Summit of the “27” leaders of the European Union has preceded, with Brussels calling on the neighbor to leave the bank of challenges and to respect International Law, the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Greece.

As already said, despite the famous “Mitsotakis yoke” of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, despite what has been said by Ankara against our country, Athens tends to… the hand of dialogue on the Turkish side, always with reference to international legitimacy , wanting this also to be recorded internationally, so that it becomes clear which side is keeping the door closed, choosing the intensity. At the same time, Mr. Erdogan, despite his… silence before the leaders and in… the safe environment of the press conference, with the end of the Synod, brought back his assertive agenda. In the estimations of the Greek capital, the Ovidian transformations of its neighbor’s president are reflected in those of his house, as the elections approach and the economy of the neighbor is in turmoil. “I think we’ve seen a lot of shifts in his rhetoric. I still think a lot of what’s being said is being messaged to his domestic political audience… Right now the entire focus of the Alliance is on how to support Ukraine … There is absolutely no tolerance within the Alliance for other possible problems, nor can the Alliance be the field for resolving any bilateral disputes between any of its members,” Mr. Mitsotakis stressed.

The… Congressional allies for Ankara

Athens continues the program of strengthening the Greek deterrent power, as the specific moves do not only work militarily, but also have a strong geostrategic sign. In this context, the decision to purchase a squadron of F-35 fighters, with the prospect of acquiring another one, is included. The arrival of these fighters is not placed earlier than 2027-2028. When, that is, there will be the necessary fiscal space.

On the F-16 front for Turkey, Mr. Erdogan may have won a public statement of support from the president of the United States (which he can use domestically), however, what factors remind him is that, beyond from the White House, there is also Congress. And from this passes the green or red light to the neighbor to approve the sale. Until now, however, the climate is negative for Ankara. And this has its importance, especially if you consider that members of Congress have already rushed to criticize Mr. Biden’s move to publicly take a position in favor of the sale of F-16s to Turkey.

Source: Capital

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