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Editorial

Tsipras in Turkey: Opportunities and Dangers

February 4, 2019

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, made some important points during his exclusive interview with The National Herald, which we published in our Greek and English editions over the weekend.

It was an interview that was re-published by many Greek media outlets, delighting many readers and friends of our newspapers in the homeland.

From the interview I single out the following interpretation given by Mr. Mitsotakis for Mr. Tsipras’ signing of the agreement with Skopje, an interpretation that remains relevant and is applicable to tomorrow’s visit by the Prime Minister to Turkey.

Mr. Mitsotakis said:

“His goal was to restore his personal credibility with Greece’s international partners given that the agreement with Skopje was very high on their agenda.”

This, in various ways, has been said by others.

But it carries more weight when it is expressed by the leader of the main opposition party who is known to choose carefully with his words.

Tsipras trip to Turkey comes at a critical time.

International concerns about stability in the Eastern Mediterranean are such at this time that calming down Greek-Turkish tensions are also high on the agenda of the great powers. It seems that they losing patience with the continuation of a number of long-lasting unresolved issues.

Our own issues, the Aegean and the Cyprus issues, fall into this category. In fact the Cyprus issue is the longest-running issue before the UN.

With these international conditions in the background and with the Cyprus problem in a stalemate, with Turkey threatening Greece more and more, with words and actions, with a weak government in Athens that is rapidly approaching the end of its term, Mr. Tsipras’s visit to Ankara to meet with Turkey’s unpredictable leader Tayyip Erdogan is a risky proposition.

We wish Mr. Tsipras, of course, success, and while we desire diplomatic and peaceful solutions to the problems, the country and the nation will not tolerate an agreement with the Turks a la  Prespes.

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