The Aegean, with its hundreds of small and large islands, was a small space, but the ideas that developed in its waters made it a de facto center of the world: the Aegean of the unique contribution to world civilization.
Today, the Aegean is the major obstacle to the rebirth of the Ottoman Empire.
But how does the super-weapon of our classic heritage slowly pass into the hands of Turkey, which behaves like a pirate, not only as the new owner of the Aegean, but also as the eternal one?
Where is Turkey really heading?
Especially in recent years we are suffering the consequences of the Oriental despotism of our neighboring country.
But while the political aspects of our difficult relationship with the Turks are more widely known, their cultural dimensions are less well known.
The Turks in the course of their migration from the steppes of Central Asia to the castle gates of Vienna crossed with the Greeks as heirs and successors of ancient Greek civilization.
The Turks conquered flourishing areas of this civilization in all its forms, from sculpture and architecture to theater and music, from navigation to democracy and its institutions, and from rhetoric to philosophy.
In such areas, many centuries after the Greeks, the Turks settled and thrived.
Greece and the western coasts of Asia Minor are bathed by the Aegean.
In the recent past, once again, the official Turkish opposition has accused Erdogan of ceding the Aegean to its neighbors.
The Greek, however, is “the beast of the Logos” (“το θεριό του Λόγου”), which for 2,500 years was nurtured in the Aegean with invincible values, which in time, led to the National Uprising of 1821.
At the same time, today’s Turkish politicians speak of the Aegean as an area of interest, but, do not seem to have the slightest idea of the unsurpassed classical heritage with which it is intertwined.
Turkey is constantly in the news as a country that likes to project military power.
It promotes a nationalism, which in our time, should be considered obsolete and through the doctrine of the “Blue Homeland” the Aegean is conspired.
At the same time, the Turks find it difficult to respect the great contribution of the Greeks to world civilization and prefer to ignore it, undermine it or even plunder it.
The most common capitulation is the presentation of Homer as an ancient Turk, but also of many other ancient philosophers.
Also, in the ancient Greek monuments that are within the present Turkish territory, in the explanatory notes for the visitors, there is talk of “ancient Turks and ancient Turkish culture”, while there are Greek inscriptions in all their ancient ruins.
Should one talk about a complex of Turkey or not, since they attribute anything ancient Greek to the Romans by erasing the ancient Greeks?
In the face of escalating Turkish aggression, modern Greeks must keep patriotism alive in their souls, as their ancient ancestors taught them.
Moreover, however, for modern Greeks, the undeniably paramount importance of the classical heritage for the formation of the dominant West must be considered a strong basis for a mild, but crucial, power.
Cultural capital is the omnipotent super-weapon of Greece.
“Ancient Greece set man on his feet,” the New York Times wrote in 1975 (and, the cultural genesis of Europe took place on the Acropolis of Athens and in the deep waters of the Aegean).
This awareness of the cultural superiority of the Greeks must be transformed into targeted and effective moves at the level of international relations and alliances.
Whenever we call on our allies (the EU, the U.S.) to assist us in pressuring Turkey to comply with international law, we have the opportunity to link Turkey’s persistent tendency to transcend cultural and moral limits in the ancient Greek sense of hubris.
The illegal missions of the Turkish research vessels Oruç Reis and Çeşme in Greek and Cypriot maritime space are recent examples of Turkey’s tendency to commit political and cultural hubris.
Whenever Turkey is confronted with the contribution of the Greeks to world civilization, its response will be its attempt to plunder and cultural hubris.
Thus, nemesis must occur inevitably, otherwise not only the Aegean and Greece will be in danger, but also Western European civilization as a whole.
The ideas that emerged from the Aegean, and in particular the cities that nurtured it, as a spirit, invincible, conquered Rome and since then, have intertwined within what is still today the dominant West.
The Aegean belongs to the ancient Greeks and we have no right to dispose of it, and “gave” to the whole world a super-weapon: the classic heritage.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.