Exploratory contacts: “This is the reason why Greece cannot have a dialogue with Turkey”

Greece Turkey flags border

New mobility is observed in the relations between Greece and Turkey as exploratory contacts are expected to resume again between Athens and Ankara on January 25, as announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This is the 61st round of exploration, with the 60th taking place in Athens in 2016.

And as the etiquette stipulates that the rounds of negotiations take place in rotation at the seat of one or the other countries, it is now Constantinople’s (Κωνσταντινούπολις, Turkish: İstanbul) turn.

Retired air force commander Pavlos Christou expressed to Sputnik Hellas the view that Greece cannot participate in any dialogue with Turkey.

“Such a dialogue, in order to be effective, must begin on the basis of respect for the rules of international law and be conducted without interventions and arbitrators within a commonly accepted framework of principles and procedures with full respect for territorial integrity and national sovereignty, in the spirit of Helsinki Final Act,” he said.

“Dialogue is a tool for resolving disputes between credible states that do not conspire against the national sovereignty of one or the other. Turkey, however, threatens Greek sovereignty and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus,” he added.

Turkey’s goals

At the same time, Christou focused on Turkey’s objective, which he claims is not the product of instantaneous immediate choices, but of an effective foreign policy.

“Ankara, managing its national affairs with relatively significant and varied autonomy and seeking to redefine the country’s political entity on the margins of existing structural changes, has set long-term and pre-determined aspirations,” he said.

According to Christouo, the unchanging, fixed goals of Turkish expansionist policy are:

  • The  division of the Aegean  – this can be achieved initially with the defensive division of the Aegean (satisfaction of the Turkish demand for “defense responsibility” of half of the Aegean within NATO),
  • the joint exploitation of the Aegean continental shelf,
  • the condominium of the airspace, and
  • later, with the occupation of a Greek island or islands adjacent to the mainland Turkish mainland, the division of Cyprus.

“The semi-war situation through the power factors of a dynamic confrontation between the two countries, creates a reproduction of driving forces of unequal Greek-Turkish developments that exacerbates the difficulties and incites war,” he explained.

The “limited war” and the challenges by Turkey

He stressed that Turkey is now “threatening a limited war.”

“We should not expect just one hot episode from Turkey. Turkey now threatens a limited war. Turkey launched attacks against Greece and Cyprus,” he stressed.

At the same time, he makes clear that the air activity by the Turkish air force against Greece in the Aegean is illegal.

“Turkey, with methodical actions-violations, seeks to change the status quo in the Aegean,” he said.

“It challenges Greek sovereignty in the national airspace for the width of 10 nautical miles, does not recognize the right of Greek control in a specific area, tries to modify – in NATO context – defense zones of responsibility and does not accept the legal expansion of the Greek coastal zone and national airspace to 12 nautical miles,” Christou continued.

“Turkey is developing a strong and multifaceted activity aimed at reviewing the existing regime in the Aegean. military activities, with which it tries to promote its positions,” he continued.

How should Greece react?

At the same time, the retired wingman expresses objections to the Greek strategy and proposes a change of course:

“The attempt made by Greece to transfer the management of the problems to third parties seeking arbitration is essentially unsuccessful (as none of the partners – for its own reasons – wants to take a clear position) and shows weakness pursuing a dynamic national strategy. If we do not directly threaten Turkey with harsh retaliation, even with escalating tensions, we are not going to prevent it from creating accomplishments in the Aegean.”

Greece Turkey flags border

“It is obvious that in order to defend our territorial integrity and sovereignty, an independent course for our country must be promoted. A realistic strategic goal must be the creation of an independent national security system, which is directly linked to regional and global security since the security of each country cannot only be national, but also the independence of a people cannot be left to the plans of an international or regional security system.”

“In this bizarrely used mix of pure-real war (and even in a semi-war situation), the Greek Armed Forces act everyday credibly, effectively, with proven capacity, sending clear messages to force Turkey to resign.,” underlined Christou.

The geopolitical significance of Greece-Cyprus

Christou points out that in the current phase of international developments, any discussion on the geopolitical importance of Greece and Cyprus is linked to the national security strategy of the two countries.

“It should be noted that the national security strategy is not detached from the broader national strategy of the state, but is connected to it, derives from it and is an integral part of it,” he explained.

“However, at the level of the national Greece-Cyprus security strategy, there is an integral link, as in general the security problems of Hellenism in Greece and Cyprus are intertwined with the aspirations of Ankara,” Christou continued.

“Therefore, the national security strategy of the two states of Hellenism is necessarily distinct and adapted to the specific local conditions of the two states (respectively, to the security of the Aegean and Thrace, and to tackling the problem of Turkish occupation). However, coordination and a common approach are needed in terms of the general direction and the individual common goals,” he observed.