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Guest Viewpoints

Greece: a Goose with Golden Eggs

By Angelos Kostopoulos,

Greeks believe they are situated on the best real estate on the planet.

And nowadays, with the discovery of enormous quantities of oil in the Aegean and Southeast Mediterranean, this Greek plot of land may well be the most valuable in the world.

Therefore, it should not be a surprise that our NATO neighbor, Turkey, has been acting like the farmer – or in this case, the big, bad wolf – wanting a share of the golden eggs from Greece’s goose.

The irony is that despite Greece’s economic recession, dysfunctional leftist government and public sector, demoralized military, and usual propensity to mess up even the best opportunities, it always seems to end up with the proverbial golden goose.

Yes, the goose is firmly under the protection of the U.S. Naval fleet in Souda Bay, not to mention virtually the entire American military contingent that quietly transferred to Souda from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base in the last few months.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s daily caustic threats to redraw Europe’s borders, to unleash thousands of refugees into Greece and Europe, to imprison Greek soldiers on a recent routine border patrol, to obstruct oil drilling activities in Cyprus, and to generally exacerbate regional tensions, is serious cause for Western action.

Unfortunately, Mr. Erdogan doesn’t realize that this bullying is not in his country’s best interests. Instead of questioning EU members Greece’s and Cyprus’ sovereignties, he should be promoting good neighbor policies that could possibly result in favorable trade agreements for the coming oil bonanza.

Instead of stirring the pot in Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo, Turkey would better benefit from a regional good neighbor policy that would give it political leverage in Turkey’s struggle to inhibit Kurdish irredentism.

Theories and wishful thinking aside, the U.S. and EU should take decisive actions, as they did in Poland to counter Russian threats, to ensure that Turkey respects the rule of law. The West’s response should make clear that Turkey’s NATO membership and EU accession is not written in stone, and that there are tangible consequences to Turkey’s blatant threats.

Mr. Erdogan should stop acting like a common “goose thief” and confirm rather than revise Turkey’s North Atlantic and European foreign policy.

Angelos Kostopoulos is a former U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer.

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