ANKARA – Noted Greek-French film director Costa-Gavras, pointing to Turkish provocations, said he’s worried that it could turn into a conflict with Greece during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring a second war to Europe.
“A second war in Europe after Putin’s would be a total disaster, a stupidity that would cross all the lines that have already been crossed,” Costa-Gavras told Turkish Minute, a news site set up by Turkish journalists in exile.
That was in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders to start the invasion a year ago that has led to the deaths of scores of thousands of people, including civilians and children and shows no signs of stopping.
Before an earthquake struck Turkey on Feb. 6 and brought an end for the time being to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to invade Greece the tensions between the two countries was spiking.
Erdogan wants Greek troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast and said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles but blamed Greece for the anxiety.
“This old and crude populist ideology has already had its day on the planet and in Europe, with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler and Franco, and we’ve seen the results,” he warned, referring to World War II and Spain’s Civil War.
In an exclusive written interview with Turkish Minute, Costa-Gavras emphasized the danger of a possible war between the two nations, especially in the context of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
He said that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also populist and nationalist, but there is no comparison between him and Erdoğan, “who seems to want to restore the Ottoman Empire at any cost,” to appeal to his voters.
While many political analysts think the war talk is just Erdogan trying to rally a nationalist base as he faces May 14 elections, Mitsotakis is also coming up to a snap poll he called but has mostly steered clear of engaging in a war of words.
But with the volatile Erdogan at the helm and the likelihood that tensions will rise again once the aftermath of the earthquake – and Greece’s aid – has subsided, there are concerns of a conflict possibility arising again.
“I see only one solution for Greece and Türkiye: a peace solution in which reason, which distinguishes man from beast, dominates and prevails,” said Costa-Gavras, known for his politically driven films.
“I am in Paris where I see this situation on the brink of war, of a growing hatred between a country with 80 million inhabitants, Türkiye, and Greece with 10 million inhabitants. Terrified that this war will break out,” he said.