I confess that I wronged President Trump, at least on one issue. That if the relations between Greece and Turkey reached the extremes, he would not lift a finger.
And yet, on Wednesday, August 26, at 1pm Washington, D.C. time, while the President was busy because of the Republican National Convention, he took the time to call the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish President to prevent the possibility of an immediate conflict between the two sides, something that would also hurt him in the run-up to the election.
Apparently, the U.S. monitoring the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean concluded that they had no time to wait until after the convention to request the personal intervention of the President.
The intervention of the American President, in these circumstances is judged by three parameters:
First, from the message it conveys – that is, the policy it supports. Second, that it has all the weight of the country thep president represents. And third, that there will be consequences to the detriment of the one who will not keep his end of the bargain.
Trump's message, according to a White House press release, was the following: “President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences. The two leaders also discussed important bilateral and regional issues.”
It was not announced what other issues were discussed, although it is not difficult to surmise.
It is possible that the intervention of Trump was also requested by Germany and France; French warships have been conducting exercises in the Mediterannean region and the German mediation failed.
The Greek Prime Minister has shown remarkable calm, confidence, and bravery in the face of the great pressure exerted by the Turks on Greece, without raising any white flags – in contrast to what happened in Imia.
And this must have influenced Erdogan's decisions, but also those of the allies.
The Turks continued playing their fiddle yesterday, but at the same time, offered to host the Greek negotiating team in Istanbul.
After that, it seems as though the time for the start of the negotiations was significantly shortened. Unless, as the Turkish Defense Minister put it, "you can have the EU, the whole world with you as much as you want,” – insinuating that it wouldn’t be enough.
It is also possible for Turkey to disregard the U.S. again, like so many other times.
I don’t think that they will. That is why I hope that the Greek side has begun preparations for talks.
What the Turks demanded from the beginning.