Apart from the niceties (which I’m sure are genuine), Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou again reiterated at one point in front of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that withdrawal of Turkey’s Oruç Reis research vessel is a positive first step.
She could have used that opportunity to immediately underline that the other two Turkish research vessels continue to violate Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. But she didn’t – raising that at other points.
In other words there appears to be a premeditated effort not to link the two.
If you listen carefully to Anastasiades’ words, he takes another tack – that all violations are equal violations of one unified EU body. So a violation of the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone is also a violation of Cyprus’ sovereignty via the supra national legal entity that is the EU.
This is a very smart as well as valid legal and political approach that could be taken up by the Greek government headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, if it so chooses. It could also hide to a certain extent behind this mantra if it does not want to get into a protracted negotiation process where it will be forced to compromise.
My fear is that there is still a prevailing mentality in the upper echelons of the Greek government and civil service that this whole Exclusive Economic Zone saga is just one big headache and that it would be wonderful if it would just go away.
This would allow us to return to sipping our fredoes and frappés in peace. Negotiations are a kind of paracetamol or perceived quick fix. We all know that the underlying condition persists.
The other thing that comes across is that Cyprus is currently standing firm on its intention to veto Belarus sanctions, if sanctions are not also imposed on Turkey. This was also reiterated today by the spokesperson of the Cypriot government.
The EU loves, it must be emphasised, compromises and fudges, and this is probably what will be agreed at the 11th hour. Probably a few extra cursory sanctions against Turkey that will not have any dentures, let alone teeth.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.