The Maria case – The Reappraisal In the summer, SPIEGEL published several articles about refugees at the border river Evros. We reported that a Syrian child had died because Greece had not provided assistance. After doubts arose, we went deep into the research again. 30/12/2022, 18:24 In the summer of 2022, DER SPIEGEL published three …
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a Tuesday parliamentary committee meeting on his ministry’s 2023 budget that a maritime agreement signed between Turkey and Libya in 2019 is merely a memorandum and that it can’t be approved by the Libyan parliament. Main opposition lawmaker and former ambassador Ünal Çeviköz had asked the minister what …
Mr Erdogan will now expect Sweden and Finland to adhere to the spirit, and not just the (notably vague) letter, of the agreement. This means he will demand they back a future Turkish operation in Syria to combat the YPG, who happen to be the West’s main allies against Islamic State, support Ankara’s plans to expel and forcibly resettle over one million Syrian refugees in northern Syria, take concrete steps to extradite alleged members of the PKK and Gulen movement to face trial, unlikely to be fair, in Turkey, and keep schtum about Turkey’s poor human rights records and abuses of fundamental democratic freedoms.
Turkey will seize on any hemming and hawing on these issues as evidence of bad faith, if not betrayal, and a just cause to reignite a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the West. Turkey under Erdogan is a fundamentally untrustworthy ally. The NATO deal has triggered a countdown to the next noisy but inevitable conflagration.
Historic rivals, Turkey and Greece have been at odds over issues ranging from overflights and the status of Aegean islands, maritime boundaries and hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean, and ethnically-split Cyprus.
Tensions flared again recently over air space and the status of demilitarised islands in the Aegean. Erdogan has said Mitsotakis “no longer exists for him” after the Greek premier lobbied for the United States not to sell Turkey F-16 fighter jets during a speech at the U.S. Congress.
You forget, of course, that these islands have been Greek for thousands of years, many centuries before your ancestors for the first time in their history laid their eyes on the… blue colour of the Aegean.
The islands of Imvros and Tenedos were also Greek. Why do you not implement, correspondingly, the provisions of Article 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne?
[Article 14 stipulates: “The islands of Imbros and Tenedos, remaining under Turkish sovereignty, shall enjoy a special administrative organisation composed of local elements and furnishing every guarantee for the native non-Moslem population in so far as concerns local administration and the protection of persons and property. The maintenance of order will be assured therein by a police force recruited from amongst the local population by the local administration above provided for and placed under its orders. The agreements which have been, or may be, concluded between Greece and Turkey relating to the exchange of the Greek and Turkish populations will not be applied to the inhabitants of the islands of Imbros and Tenedos.”]
The crisis culminated when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rushed to the United States recently and targeted Turkey in Congress. While the Turkish delegation was discussing the F-16s in the U.S., the Greek leader was trying to persuade Washington to embargo Ankara, a NATO ally and neighbor of Greece. It happened at a time when “third parties” were not included at the request of Athens in the mechanism between Greece and Turkey.
Following the move, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “Mitsotakis no longer exists for me.” The president said that because he was clearly convinced that Athens did not have the will to conduct independent, equal diplomacy. Erdoğan’s harsh statement can also be seen as a reflection of his exhaustion in the face of such moves by Greek authoritie
Nowadays, the only remaining problematic region in Turkish foreign policy is the Eastern Mediterranean, in which it conflicts with Greece. As a matter of the fact, the balance of power has changed in the region in favor of Turkey over the last two decades. Turkey has begun to play in a higher league, which creates more concerns in Greece, which has been exploiting the anti-Turkish perception in Western countries. Although Turkey has been insistently inviting Greece to the negotiation table in order to reach a peaceful solution in the region, Greece has been denying giving a positive answer. Instead, Greece has been trying to mobilize and provoke the Western world against Turkey.