National Security Professor George Filis from Bournemouth University raised the bar of expectations for the current informal EU Council of Foreign Ministers taking place today and tomorrow in Berlin. Speaking on Sigma, he said that despite Germany’s ambitious efforts to reach an agreement between Greece and Turkey, it still has great interests in Turkey which makes it difficult to mediate effectively.
“In the next weeks we should not expect many things,” he said, emphasizing that there is time for diplomatic moves but also time for Greece to proceed to military cooperation with France.
Asked to comment on how far Turkey might go, he said “we will have to break eggs with Turkey. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will prepare as a nation and as a people for what is to come. But I’m not sure it’s [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who will do the job.”
In this context, he said, the issue is not whether we will go into conflict with Turkey but when.
Erdoğan has expanded militarily to such an extent in the Eastern Mediterranean that it has no possibility or small possibilities to put up with a country like Greece, he explained.
“We are a heavily armed country and it is one of the four largest military forces in the EU,” he said.
Turkey is one step ahead of the economic collapse and that, he said, explains its frustration.
“It is clear that it is only a matter of time before they collapse. As much as countries like Qatar want to support it, what is happening is not sustainable,” he said.
On the subject of military ties and tensions, he said that Turkey’s five submarines became a joke throughout NATO last week.
“We must not be afraid of them. We have the military advantage,” he emphasized.
Turkey is like the Ottoman Empire before the Balkan Wars. A state that seems strong but has weak foundations, considering itself greater than it is but tries to realize its visions.
Regarding the expansion of territorial waters in the Ionian Sea and the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with Egypt, Filis said that if Athens and Cairo remain in this agreement and if the expansion does not take place in the Aegean then it means that it is a conscious choice for negotiation.
Athens and Nicosia, he stressed, should proceed with the delimitation of the EEZ and we can defend it.
In Nicosia, he also said, we must understand that appeasement does not work as it is the only way that will lead you to war or give the opponent what he wants without war.
Finally, he stressed that Hellenism should defend what it has during these years because it forms a balance for the next hundred years. If we do not understand it, we will become slaves of the Turks.