Turkish Elections Coming, Greece Sees Erdogan Rhetoric Rising

Greece is said to believe that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments that his country should have occupied all of Cyprus in 1974 invasions instead of taking only the northern third is aimed at nationalists ahead of elections there.

Erdogan defended his country’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus, saying there would be no “Cyprus problem” had Turkish forces gone farther and taken over the entire state. He and Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar have rejected reunification.

Instead, they demanded that the United Nations and world accept the isolated occupied side that only Turkey recognizes. Another special UN envoy has been dispatched to try to resurrect stalled talks.

Although a detente is in place as Erdogan had ratcheted down tensions before whomping them up over Cyprus, Greece has said it won’t affect that, thinking that Erdogan, as he is wont to do, is just playing to his base, although his “provocative remarks” were deplored.

Officials in Athens attribute the outbursts to upcoming local elections in Turkey and efforts by Erdogan to spoil what opinion polls show as growing gains being made by his party’s main opponent in the key city of Constantinople, said The Voice of America.


Greek Immigration Minister Dimitris Keridis said that Erdogan will polarize voters as they head to the elections and that Erdogan is “bound to continue appealing to the hardline nationalist vote to support his key candidates.”

Erdogan’s remark came during an iftar dinner this week with top military commanders. Turkish media quoted him as saying that had Turkish troops pushed south, “There would be no more north and south, and Cyprus would be completely ours.”

It wasn’t said if Erdogan’s remarks would put up an obstacle to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ hopes of getting the leaders of the two sides – the Greek-Cypriot government is a member of the European Union – to sit down.

Constantinos Filis, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs in Athens of Erdogan that, “The immediate message he wants to send to the UN is that Turkey is a strong player, in control of developments on the ground, and that all efforts should be focused on it if the talks are to restart,” Fillis said.

Erdogan and Tatar want a two-state solution and permanent partition of the island, with the world accepting the self-declared republic that is largely dependent on Turkey and has been ignored otherwise.

Greek government officials contacted by VOA say that nonetheless, the latest tiff with Turkey will not spoil plans by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to meet with Erdogan in high-level talks set to take place in May.


CHALKIDA, Greece - As Greece is pushing to rein in tax evaders - which no government has been able to do - the director and four employees at the Halkida tax office on the country’s second-biggest island of Evia, were arrested on bribery charges.

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