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Greece, EU Pay Price for Appeasing Sultan Erdogan

Αssociated Press

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, is welcomed by European Council President Charles Michel prior to a meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

If you want peace, prepare for war.

War is politics by another means.

You can't talk to a man with a shotgun in his hand.

Take your pick because they all apply to dealing with Turkish President and Sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has beaten the European Union and successive Greek leaders like a rented mule, leaving them at wits end how to deal with his aggression and provocations.

Turkey has for years been sending fighter jets and warships to violate Greek waters and airspace with not a peep from NATO, the alleged alliance to which both belong, and seeing no one stopping him, stepped it up by making a deal with Libya dividing the seas between them and claiming waters off Greek islands, including Crete and Rhodes.

He might get away with trying to take Rhodes, but take it from the Nazis who landed on Crete in parachutes in World War II and found themselves being stabbed with pitchforks and kitchen knives by old ladies and teenage girls because the men were on the mainland fighting, you don't mess with Cretans.

He had already sent ships to drill for oil and gas in Cypriot waters – Cyprus is a member of the EU that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005, now off the rails after Erdogan purged civil society, military, the courts, and started jailing journalists by the dozens after a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

With the EU issuing only soft sanctions against Turkey and the state petroleum company – none against Erdogan, who's still free to fly into Brussels for some mussels and make a monkey of the bloc's leaders – he's getting stronger and tougher, like a beast that eats energy.

After making a deal with the EU in 2016 in which Turkey, overwhelmed with refugees and migrants from the Middle East and other countries, would keep them from going to the EU – mostly through Greek islands – he allowed human traffickers to keep doing it.

But when 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an area of northern Syria that Turkey invaded, Erdogan had had enough of that agreement, figuring Turkey would be flooded with more refugees from Syria, adding to the 3.2 million already in his country.

He had warned, and warned, and threatened, and cajoled the EU-nuchs that he would open the borders if he didn't get his way after 3 billion euros ($3.39 billion) of 6 billion euros ($6.78 billion) was withheld from the deal, as was visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, and a faster track to joining the bloc.

That will happen when Cyprus is reunified and an American team of college hockey players beats the Russians again. That's scheduled for the 12th of – Never.

Unstoppable and on a roll, Erdogan sent thousands of refugees and migrants to the land border with Greece along the treacherous Evros River where many had drowned before trying to cross, including women and children, looking for a better life, not a watery grave.

When Prime Minister and New Democracy Capitalist leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis grew a backbone and said enough was enough and closed the border instead of kneeling before the Sultan, it threw Erdogan into a spin, surprised a Greek leader stood up to him after the former premier, Looney Left SYRIZA leader Alexis ‘Invertebrate’ Tsipras, rolled over.

But the tension is hanging in the air over a border standoff that has seen Greek army units and riot police locking the door to the refugees – just as the EU did, and with other countries reneging on promises to help take some of the overload.

That stunned Erdogan too because he figured Greek leaders were malleable and made of pudding because that's all he had seen for years before Mitsotakis started Walking Tall like Jon Don Looney with a big stick, thank Zeus.

Until then, Greece and the EU were paying the big price of trying to appease Erdogan who just wants more and more like the tiny-mustachioed bully he is. That's the problem with giving in to blackmail – the EU was afraid he would open the borders and he did and their response was to take it, and they did. Not Mitsotakis though.

All this has raised fears there could be what is euphemistically called a ‘conflict’ between the countries. Translation: War.

That could be set off if a Turkish fighter pilot violating Greek airspace or Greek Navy or Coast Guard Captain gets an itchy trigger finger when a Turkish vessel violates Greek waters and then all bets are off because the shooting's going to start and don't count on NATO to do anything, nor the United States, which will let it happen.

We are at the brink because Greece still backs Turkey's entry into the EU instead of calling for sanctions, including barring Erdogan from making trips to Brussels, freezing Turkish assets, and arresting Turkish crews drilling off Cyprus as they will off Crete unless stopped.

Even U.S. President Donald Hump, who adores Erdogan's dictatorial style, is unsettled by the prospect of a conflict, and when Mitsotakis visited the White House, Hump asked him, “what would happen if you lost?” Mitsotakis reportedly replied: “We will not lose, Mr. President.” He'd better be right or otherwise it will prove Greece lost this battle long before a shot was fired.