The exploratory talks starting this week in Constantinople could not have taken place at a more opportune time.
We knew there would be talks one day. It was just a matter of time. What is happening now is in fact a round of exploratory talks, but they are a significant success of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The facts are clear:
Erdogan tried to blackmail Greece into sitting at the negotiating table and bargaining over its national sovereignty. Turkey sent a research ship into the Aegean, under the protective escort of warships. He did the same in Cyprus.
It was a time when the Trump-Erdogan friendship was flourishing – and the danger of a Greek-Turkish war was real.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, however, did not give in. He dealt with the situation very calmly. He sent the Greek Armed Forces against the Turkish military and did not follow Erdogan down the path of verbal belligerence.
He made it known that he would defend, if necessary, the holy and sacred soil, waters and principles of the homeland.
He undertook a marathon of communications with his counterparts, bringing them face to face with their responsibilities, even though Germany – despite numerous encounters mediating between the two sides to avoid a conflict – eventually refused to impose sanctions on Turkey.
Thus, the prime minister won himself and Greece some time – the exploratory talks begin this week, when the international circumstances are clearly in favor of Greece.
While it is a sign of wisdom to keep international relations close to the chest, the importance of waiting for the changing of the U.S. president and, in this case in particular, of replacing Trump with Biden regarding our national issues, cannot be underestimated.
It's not only that the president who just left the White House did not know the issues; it’s that he had investments in Turkey as well. And, he had a strange tendency to prefer authoritarian leaders.
There is now a president who has been working with these issues since he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A man with close long-term ties with the Greek-American community just took over the presidency. A man who dislikes authoritarian leaders. Who, no doubt, will never forget the well-known Erdogan-Trump friendship.
In addition, the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee is now Bob Menendez, the most pro-Greek Senator we have ever had. A man who also has close ties to the Community, Greece and Cyprus, thanks to a large extent to the pure Greek patriot, Tassos Zambas, who introduced him to the essence of the Greek-Turkish problems and brought him closer to our Community.
He is the Senator who recently visited Greece and Cyprus – again thanks to Tassos Zambas – and who met with the then-leader of the official opposition and now the prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They developed a good relationship, and – as was announced – the Prime Minister contacted Menendez a few days ago to congratulate him on his position.
It was inevitable that some kind of negotiations would take place with Turkey one day. Whoever argues the opposite is being a populist at the expense of national issues.
The talks are starting under the most suitable conditions. They are so good, that you only enjoy them once in 100 years.