The Turkish provocation of sending a ship inside the Greek continental shelf was denounced Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias at the European Union’s Foreign Ministers meeting on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York.
Earlier, the Greek Foreign Minister had instructed the Greek embassy in Ankara to carry out a strong protest against the Turkish harassment of the Maltese-flagged research ship Nautical Geo, as well as the irregular issuance of a NAVTEX.
In addition, lately the Turkish President engaged in attacks against the mayor of Istanbul and a potential rival in the presidential elections of 2023, Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is in Athens after accepting an invitation from the mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a new round of verbal attacks against Greece, while members of his government reiterated all tones in all directions that Turkey would not accept refugees from Afghanistan.
Why; and why now?
Could the new aggressive rhetoric be related to the fact that polls show him with losses while the Turkish lira also falls?
Or pressured by the pandemic and the bad Turkish economy, receiving more and more popular discontent, and not being able to capitalise on the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a Mosque, he starts the election campaign from now on?
Erdoğan’s new message until the 2023 elections is “a better tomorrow.”
He talks about a “take-off of the country after the 2023 elections” through the Akuyu nuclear power plant, an investment of $25 billion. The first reactor is expected to be operating in the year of the elections.
“Recep Tayyip Erdoğan no longer has a game to play. He is attacking Greece, the usual scapegoat, to keep attention away from internal affairs,” said Ünal Çeviköz, a former vice-president of Turkish opposition party, the republican CHP.
He highlighted that the pandemic rampant in Turkey.
“Many children return from school either with a fever or a positive PCR test. Coronavirus is a disaster in the country,” as he said to us, but on the other hand, the shaky economy is pressuring the Turkish president.
“Food prices will skyrocket this fall and households will catch fire,” the Turkish opposition official predicted.
“The ruling AKP is thinking of introducing a new immigration policy right now because immigration has now emerged as a domestic policy issue.”
“Only 1.4% of Syrians in Turkey, whose total is close to 4 million according to official rhetoric, are in refugee camps! The rest are scattered everywhere, all over Turkey!
“The immigration policy of the Turkish government, in other words, failed!
“This is an issue that is being raised high, and the ruling AKP is afraid that it will cost them a lot of votes,” our Turkish interlocutor said when asked about the government’s vertical statements that the Turkish border would be closed to Afghan refugees.
The polls have alarmed Erdoğan, Çeviköz said, adding that “they show that the opposition alliance is already ahead of the intergovernmental alliance!”
So what can Erdoğan do?
“It must distract and diffuse attention,” our Turkish interlocutor concluded.
Refugees are not necessarily an “issue of domestic consumption” in Turkey, it is the antithesis said Alexandros Koutsis, an internationalist and emeritus professor at Middle East Studies at Panteion University.
“What Erdoğan fears and wants to prevent is the wave of refugees from Afghanistan, who will deprive the country of its educated middle class that will help rebuild it because the Turkish President continues to invest in Afghanistan, wanting to play an important role in the country and the region.”
“His goal in the medium term is,” added Koutsis, “to replace the USA”.
As for his aggressive rhetoric against Greece, “it was not something he had ever forgotten,” said the Greek academic.
“He does not forget Greece. Erdoğan sees Greece even in his dreams,” he concluded.