By Dimitris Gatsiou
The positive sign that Athens gives in terms of assessing the work of the two-day NATO Summit, which closed yesterday in Madrid. The assessment of the Greek capital is that, after the attitude taken by the president of its neighbor, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in front of the allies, we are headed for a quiet summer in the field, with the prime minister, during the press conference he granted, emitting signals of dialogue towards Turkey, which have International Law and international legitimacy as fixed points of reference.
“I have heard the… Mitsotakis joke before. I heard it after Evros, it was said in other words. We met with Mr. Erdogan. I estimate that we will meet again at some point. We have to meet, we have to talk and we have to face the our differences in a civilized manner, within the framework of good neighborly relations and the only point of reference is International Law. There is no other framework on which we can rely to resolve our differences”, was the characteristic disgust of the prime minister.
At the geopolitical level, the diplomatic counterattack that started with Mr. Mitsotakis’ visit to the White House produced tangible results. President Erdoğan, despite the aggressive verbalizations against our country even a few hours before the NATO Summit, not only did not raise his well-known rhetorical outbursts in the leaders’ discussions, but on the contrary, as Athens estimates, he received a clear signal from president biden. There should be no escalation in the Aegean.
Essentially, this is the second resounding message from partners and allies to Ankara, as it has been preceded by the text of the Conclusions of the Summit of the “27” leaders of the European Union, through which Brussels calls on Ankara to leave the shore of threats and provocations and to respect International Law.
As mentioned above, the Greek capital’s assessment is that the summer will be quiet in the field. And it is typical of what government sources were saying in the wake of the Alliance’s meeting in the capital of Spain. “There is no movement in the field right now. In 2020 we had movement. Now we have nothing. We don’t see any movement.”
Athens, however, and Mr. Mitsotakis also made this clear, will not stop raising the issues of Turkish provocation in all international fora. “Our country will continue, whenever it has the opportunity, to raise the issues of Turkish aggression within the European Union, bilaterally to our partners, who are interested in being better informed about what is really happening today in the eastern Mediterranean. But I appreciate that the messages that have been sent out, I would say both publicly and behind closed doors, are absolutely clear. Right now the whole focus of the Alliance is on how to support Ukraine… There is absolutely no tolerance within the Alliance for any other potential problems , nor can the Alliance be the arena for the resolution of any bilateral disputes between any of its members,” the prime minister noted, just twenty-four hours before the next important milestone. His speech to the Plenary of the European Parliament next Tuesday.
As for the F-16 front for Turkey, what is recalled is how, beyond the White House, there is also Congress. And from this passes the green or red light to the neighbor to approve the sale. So far, however, the climate is negative for Ankara, while members of Congress have already rushed to criticize Mr. Biden’s move to publicly take a position in favor of selling F-16s to Turkey.
Athens, at the same time, continues the program to strengthen the Greek deterrent power, as the specific moves do not only work militarily, but also have a strong geopolitical 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 2027-2928. When, that is, there will be the necessary fiscal space.