What do five former prime ministers think about the current Greek-Turkish crisis?

Former Prime Minister's Alexis Tsipras and Antonis Samaras.

Former Prime Minister's Alexis Tsipras, Antonis Samaras, George Papandreou, Kostas Karamanlis and Costas Simitis are deeply concerned about the Greek-Turkish crisis and how a possible Greek-Turkish dialogue will develop.

Each of the five former former prime ministers approaches and analyzes in their own way the pitfalls of a Greek-Turkish dialogue with the aggressive and unpredictable Turkey having put the pistol to the temple of not only Greece, but of the whole of Europe.

However, all five former prime ministers converge on the assessment that Turkey is entering the dialogue having circumvented the "red lines" that Greece had set for the last fifty years, which was carefully not to be violated by Turkey.

Greece enters the dialogue from a weak position, a fact that raises fears of further retreats.

Many of the former prime ministers consider it imperative to define a "national line" and to redefine the "red line" of Athens, which will be articulated clearly and decisively, primarily to the European Union and NATO, but also to the East.

More specifically, to make it clear that Greece does not accept any discussion about the demilitarization of the islands.

- Tsipras is of the opinion that Greek-Turkish dialogue can only prove viable if it is firmly based on the revitalization of the Euro-Turkish dialogue under new conditions, which include the adoption of a strong mechanism for imposing a series of sanctions and a comprehensive positive agenda.

- Samaras speaks against manipulations on the issue of Varoshia in occupied northern Cyprus but also for the submissiveness of the Greek side that unreservedly and fatally accepted the violation of Kastellorizo from 12 nautical miles to 6.

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Former Prime Minister's Alexis Tsipras and Antonis Samaras.

- Papandreou, although calmer, believes that the issue of the continental shelf and the Cyprus issue could well be on the table as long as Turkey abandons its strategy of tension, war rhetoric and aggressive moves.

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Former Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Papandreou believes that this can be achieved without the mediation of third parties as long as the two sides (Athens and Ankara) start talking again in good faith.

Disputes must be resolved peacefully with the weapon of diplomacy. Only in this way will the wider region move forward in the interest of the peoples and not of those who trade instability.

- Karamanlis said those he has been talking to recent days and expresses on the one hand his bitterness for the violation of the "red lines" by Turkey, and on the other his fear that a possible appeal to The Hague may change the status quo in the Aegean.

Karamanlis considers that Greece should not be dragged or seduced by the methods of Turkey and should not allow the creation of those exercised to the detriment of its sovereign rights.

Former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.
Former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

Exactly one year ago, Karamanlis had warned from Thessaloniki that: "The country must be constantly vigilant and ready. Because, let us not forget, the defense of our sovereign rights and national interests will be based on our own strengths".

Karamanlis does not believe in the help of third parties and believes that in times of crisis we will be alone, as the former head of the Greek military, Admiral Vangelis Apostolakis, has said.

- Simitis is also worried, but he is particularly angry with Karamanlis, who did not take advantage of the Helsinki Summit in 2004, and as a fresh prime minister at the Brussels Summit he "missed the opportunity" and did not veto, allowing the start of Turkey's accession process.

According to Simitis, during the discussion at the Brussels Summit, Karamanlis, although he had the opportunity, did not object to Turkey's lack of response to the condition set in Helsinki.

Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

According to Simitis, Karamanlis thus accepted the start of accession negotiations with Turkey with unresolved Greek-Turkish differences regarding the boundaries of their continental shelf and coastal zones still unresolved.

Simitis considers that in 2004, Erdogan still did not support the views of a Turkish successor to the Ottoman Empire, which has rights throughout the eastern Mediterranean. He later expressed these views, especially after 2016, after the coup attempt against him.

According to Simitis in 2004, Erdogan was eager to join the European Union.