GR US

A Realistic Picture of Turkey

Εθνικός Κήρυξ

FILE - In this Saturday, July 25, 2020 file photo, Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libya s internationally-recognized government, pose for photographs prior to their talks in Istanbul. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool, File)

From time to time, but not often, an article of such importance is published that carries with it significant and long-standing influence.

An article of such caliber was written by the famous U.S. diplomat George Kennan (published under the pseudonym "Mr. X") in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. It was in this piece in which Mr. Kennan developed his policy of containment of the Soviet Union.

A few days ago, Sylvie Kauffmann, the former Editor of Le Monde, wrote an article for the New York Times entitled "The Next Global Flash Point" - which may have a similar impact. 

Surely you can guess where she is going.

Some commentators, including Kauffmann, have emphasized - for a number of years - that Turkey has changed so much that it poses a serious threat to Greek and Cypriot interests.

I have stressed - many times - that Turkey is moving on the basis of a revisionist, aggressive strategy, which, if not controlled, if not ‘stopped’ – and it is long past due – we will be faced with a disaster.

This article is important because it presents - with realism and deep analytical ability - a complete picture of Turkey and its goals.

A key point, though not original, is that Turkey is "a rising power in the Eastern Mediterranean," which does not hesitate to make "territorial claims," as China does in its own region.

Only Turkey is creating problems in the Alliance to which it belongs – NATO.

"The situation," she writes, “looks like a perfect illustration of the new world disorder.”

The reference she makes about Greece and Cyprus is, unfortunately and annoyingly, short. She writes:

“Turkey’s ever expanding activities in the area have many tentacles: Turkey’s unresolved dispute with Greece over Cyprus is complicated by claims to recently discovered gas fields. That led Turkey to strike a deal last November with Libya for a maritime boundary that created an exclusive economic zone that encroaches upon Greek and Cypriot interests.”

Meanwhile, the EU is divided on the crucial issue of Libya.

France has backed the rebel Hiftar rather than the UN-recognized prime minister.  "Wrong choice," Kauffmann writes. (Unfortunately, Greece also supported him.)

As an illustration of the plight France now finds itself in, she writes that after a recent encounter between a Turkish flotilla and a French frigate, only 8 out of 30 NATO countries supported France!

I imagine that this article will be read carefully in Athens and Nicosia. As for Washington, it will not deal with it at all, at least until after the November elections.