It is obvious that Turkey has been disturbed by the strategic relationship that is developing between Greece and the USA, while Erdogan’s statements that our country has developed into an American base are revealing of the climate.
Also, it is obvious the discomfort with the equipment of Greece, which happened in an unexpectedly fast time for the Turkish regime, a fact which, in combination with the blockade of Ankara, due to the S-400, carries the risk of creating new balances in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Therefore, in the context of the big game that Erdogan is playing, centered on his relations with the West and Russia, the demonization of Greece will become increasingly important for Ankara. It is very unlikely that this will change until the Turkish elections, even if we accept that the intensity of attacks against our country is temporary because it is connected with the celebrations of the 100th anniversary since 1922.
Greece will be more and more at the center of the Turkish game and around it, in view of the elections, Erdogan will constantly build narratives: Common denominator that the Greeks want the evil of Turkey on behalf of the West. It is the Americans who are using Greece as a pawn to block the plans of the great Turkey. It is the Europeans who are using our country because they want the evil of Turkey.
Greece is a “convenient” enemy for the Turkish leadership, a condition that is now beginning to take on permanent characteristics. It’s a narrative that appeals to Erdogan’s domestic audience, and that’s why it’s linked to the big counteroffensive that Turkey is about to launch in 2023. Either it’s Erdogan’s counteroffensive to win the election, or Ankara’s attack on all of them. who plot the country and its overthrow.
This does not mean that Turkey does not feel obliged to show self-restraint, since if it had not been “coughed up” by the Americans, it would have demonstrated a different behavior in the field, both in the Northern Mediterranean through the drilling rig Abdulhamit Khan, and in the Aegean.
One thing is certain. Greek-Turkish has entered a new phase. Erdogan’s statement yesterday, regarding the great value that Turkey has for NATO and the correspondingly small value that Greece has, is typical. It is an attempt by the neighbors to emphasize to the Americans that they are supporting a country of limited strategic utility, at the risk of pitting against them a country traditionally seen as the West’s “geopolitical hinge” in the region. As for yesterday’s “show” Akar to fly a plane over the Aegean, who has recently contracted the attacks against Greece, on the one hand he wants to stimulate the national feeling at home, on the other hand he himself sees himself with a role in the next day , so she emerges, either with Erdogan, or as his successor.
It is also interesting that this generalized Erdogan-Akar diplomatic offensive against Athens has succeeded in silencing the opposition on the way to the elections. Kemalists and other parties have stopped campaigning against Greece. Instead of the government and the opposition fighting over who will be tougher on our country, as was the case before, this is now happening between Erdogan’s ministers and ruling party officials, in order to show their commitment to the leader.
In conclusion, there are two issues that should concern us. The first is that the above rhetoric, which will hardly pass in the field before the issue of F-16s is resolved, is aimed at creating a background for a crisis with Greece, which Turkey is actually paying in advance to our country. The goal of the Turkish regime is to accuse Greece of taking an irresponsible, aggressive stance, of going against NATO norms by “activating” the S-300 against Turkish fighters.
The second worrying element is that at the same time as the above, Ankara is negotiating for the F-16s with the Americans, warning them that in order not to go from words to deeds, they must get what they are asking for. A war of nerves is raging here between the Turks and the Americans, with the former extorting that if they don’t take the planes they could cause a crisis with Greece, breaking the cohesion of NATO at a time when it should stay united, and the latter warning that if this happens they will not satisfy the Turkish request.
This general attack by Turkey against Greece will be culminated by Erdogan at the United Nations General Assembly in September. At the UN summit we will see an unprecedented performance by Erdogan. There he will present forged evidence, with maps, videos and alleged evidence, he will attempt to show that Greece is against international law, he will invoke a letter which will concern the Aegean (and which he will send to the UN, if he does not have one already doing), he will talk about pushbacks, about the demilitarization of the islands claiming that Greece is violating the Treaty of Lausanne, he will invoke the S-300, cok.
How should Athens respond to this Turkish attack? First of all, her attitude so far in choosing when and for what reason she will respond to Turkey shows composure and self-confidence. Defense and Foreign Ministers N. Panagiotopoulos and N. Dendias do not answer their counterparts Akar and Tsavousoglou every day.
Of course, this does not mean that we should be complacent in the field of public diplomacy, and because we think that what Turkey supports are extremes, we should not give them due importance. All the channels should work here, so that it becomes clear in all directions that what Turkey supports is completely unsupported and violates International Law.
However, we must not forget two things. The first, that no matter what Turkey says, no matter how many facts it presents about the S-300, it is not going to change the Americans’ opinion about the S-400 in the slightest. As long as they remain on Turkish soil, and they are more likely to be activated, there is not going to be any defense cooperation with Ankara. The second is that the Americans are looking for a compromise formula, in order to give Turkey the F-16s, regardless of the Greek arguments and what is said in Congress. Those who believe otherwise are deluded.
* Konstantinos Philis is an Associate Professor at the American College of Greece, ANT1 international affairs analyst, presents the show “Greece in the (her) world”, which is broadcast on the ANT1+ platform