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Editorial

Greek-Turkish Relations after the Tragedies

Greek-Turkish relations have entered a ‘honeymoon period’, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the issue.

‘Interesting’ moves are being made, on both sides, which could not have been imagined before the tragedies that hit both countries, he commented.

The question is, will the ‘honeymoon’ be an extended one or is it just the calm before the storm?

In the early morning hours of February 6, 2023, the terrible earthquake – 7.8-magnitude on the Richter scale – that struck Turkey left at least 48,000 dead and many more injured. An entire region was destroyed.

Along with the devastation, the myth of Erdogan’s effective and capable leadership and Turkey’s evolution into a leading regional power was pulverized.

The earthquake revealed the disintegration of the Turkish state apparatus, its extreme partisanship, and the widespread corruption. Erdogan’s failure to deal with the disaster that befell them with any effectiveness surprised foreigners and damaged his prestige inside and outside Turkey.

And, finally, just a few days ago he confirmed that elections will be held on May 14.

Since then, the … nightingale has lost its voice. He stopped threatening Greece with war, and ceased his singing of “we will come one night.”

His wings were clipped.

The question is, did he put his dreams on ice, or did he change his direction once and for all?

That same month – only 22 days later – two Greek trains collided in Tempe, killing 57 people and injuring many more.

From one moment to the next, Greece’s optimism was tempered… the whole country fell into mourning. The revelation of the two-speed state became clearer than ever before. The youth reflexively poured into the streets because students their age lost their lives, while foreign markets and investors went from being excited about the country’s progress to pausing, to see what the developments would be, what would happen with the elections.

In this climate, the relations between the people and governments of Greece and Turkey improved, as they became more aware of the common destinies of neighbors.

And necessity, death, and the enormous material damage seem not to give Erdogan the luxury and political advantage to make threats against Greece, even in an election period.
But how long will the calm last?

The Turkish President’s re-election, despite the economic crisis and the inefficiency he has displayed, seems almost assured. The climate is not conducive to new adventures.
But the re-election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, despite his expected temporary dip in the polls, must also be considered a certainty.

Thus, after the elections, both countries will have a window of opportunity to address the problems that divide them. Will they take advantage of it?

In my opinion, no. Not because Kyriakos will not make a sincere effort, but because Erdogan’s long-term goals will not have changed.

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