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Politics

Turks Think Erdogan’s Greece War Threats Just Election Strategy

September 15, 2022

ΑΝΚΑRΑ – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be huffing and puffing and threatening to blow Greece down with threats of war and intimidation, but most Greeks think it’s just a campaign ruse as he faces 2023 elections.

So do Turks.

A majority of them told an opinion poll that they believe the heightened tension is tied to Erdogan trying to rally a nationalist base as they face crushing inflation and a diminishment of the quality of life there.

Some 51.5 percent said his growing belligerence and volatility in warning to invade Greece is “an attempt to create an agenda for the elections,” and 64 percent disagreed that there is “enmity between the Turkish and Greek peoples,” said Kathimerini.

Rad more: Dendias Expresses Concern over Escalation of Turkish Rhetoric

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The poll found that sentiment existed in all major parties, including the governing AKP of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his nationalist MHP allies who are becoming more bellicose by the day.

They were trying to outscream each other in beating their chests and war drums against Greece, where Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also facing 2023 elections and building an arsenal against Turkish provocations.

Besides Erdogan and his extremist followers and party members, even those from rival parties were getting on the war bandwagon and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Chairman of the Republican People’s Party, urged Erdogan to act.

Kilicdaroglu said Erdogan should follow the example of Turkish leader Bulent Ecevit, who ordered the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, and to stop talking and make good on his promise against Greece to “come one night.”

Erdogan’s former close associate and Chairman of the Development and Progress Party, Ali Babacan, claimed that Greece has taken “many steps that violate our sovereign rights,” the paper said.

Turkey’s National Assembly Speaker Mustafa Sentop said it is “unacceptable” that Greece wants to turn the Aegean Sea “into a Greek lake,” and that, “Greece’s rhetoric and actions have turned into a security threat.”

All that was apparently prompted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis going to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, the two countries having made a mutual defense agreement and Greece buying French-made Rafale fighter jets and warships.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar claimed that Greece is “trying to exploit and distort every event, to influence third parties with lies and slander and to complain about Turkey to third countries.”

He also accused Greece of a “two-faced policy” while also repeating Turkey’s claims that Greek missile defenses “locked on to” Turkish fighters during a NATO mission and that Greece is harboring and training terrorists, all denied by Greece and Turkey offering no proof.

Turkey also wants Greece to remove troops from Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkey doesn’t recognize and a move which would leave them open to invasion.

Turkey also keeps maintaining, the paper noted, that the Muslim minority of Thrace is ethnic and not religious and that its rights are being violated, and has warned it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritimes boundaries to 12 miles limits.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Greece of slandering Turkey and “becoming a tool of others and said that: “It is constantly trying to provoke us. And we remind them. You have provoked us in the past. You got your answer and the price was heavy.”

Most Turks believe all that is just bluster and have dismissed it, the survey showed, indicating that Erdogan and his followers are spitting into the wind and getting no return for it.

Cavusoglu also presented Greece as a “tool” being used by the United States to limit the growth of Turkish power in the region. He claimed that “for the first time Greece has taken a position on the side of the US,” the paper said.

“It is also being used by the US. Because Turkey has become more powerful in the region and they are designing Greece as a new power against this power,” he also added to complaints that are getting longer.

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