Mitsotakis "trumpeted" retreat...

kyriakos mitsotakis, recep tayyip erdogan nato summit july 2023

Immediately after the Greek elections, in which Kyriakos Mitsotakis won, as expected the way was opened for the "Prespes of the Aegean", which had been being prepared for a long time.

In an era dominated by secret diplomacy in Greek-Turkish relations the suspicion that retreats are being prepared in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean is confirmed.

The stated intention of the prime minister to "trumpet" retreat, changing the decades-long official, at least national strategy (there is only one legal difference, the delimitation of the continental shelf-Exclusive Economic Zone) structurally changes the confrontation with Turkey.

Athens essentially adopts the expansionist aspirations of Ankara, which considers that the two countries have "significant differences", with a "geopolitical dimension" that must be put on the political dialogue table. In fact, Mitsotakis spoke of "serious geopolitical issues"...

Will the occupation of half of Cyprus and the illegal Turkish-Libyan pact will be discussed? These will probably not be raised from the Greek side because it will spoil the "good climate" we have been invoking since the period of the earthquakes in Turkey.

The oxymoron and inexplicable thing is that we eagerly awaited this "good climate" to make retreats, which were even announced!

The question arises: When there was tension between the two countries, could we not negotiate with the Turks by making concessions?

We naively believe that Turkey will show moderation in the context of artificial calm, which also aims to create a climate of tolerance in Greek society for the upcoming agreements.

Who does not want Greece and Turkey to resolve their differences based on international law, so that the two peoples can live in peace and harmony? The methodology and strategies will determine whether there will be a fair treatment of the national problem in the end.

The prime minister's interview, however, introduced new demons. No prime minister to date has spoken about diminishing national sovereignty which can be a starting point for negotiation. After the starting point, the core of the negotiations will obviously be the next wave of concessions.

What is needed?

Having said that, what is the use of the costly armaments so much touted by the government. The agreements with France and the USA, to which we gave land and water, what were they for?

The increase of military and diplomatic power and the improvement of correlations with sacrifices from the backwardness of the Greek people, are not consistent with such signs of yielding.

The prime minister even described the "reduction of national sovereignty " as a "related concept," which according to the Constitution he is obliged to defend. It should not escape our attention that during the two pre-election periods the prime minister applied his "speak up and shut up".

In other words, he avoided referring to the policy of dealing with the Turkish challenges and his intention to even make concessions.

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Suffice it to mention, that the only difference we have with Turkey is the delimitation of the continental shelf-EEZ, while for a long time it used the term "delimitation of maritime zones".

After the criticism leveled at him, Mitsotakis varied his rhetoric. His unacknowledged intentions should be a major issue in the public debate for voters to form an opinion on such a vital national issue.

With the revelations, immediately after the elections, the question of apparent expediency is raised. We do not know what effect the publicising of Mitsotakis' intentions before the elections would have on the electoral percentage of the New Democracy.

Holding a referendum

We do not know how the bilateral discussions will develop, as Turkey has deliberately raised a multitude of issues and our "mood" for pre-emptive concessions will increase its bulimic mood.

However, if there is an agreement, it is imperative that a referendum be held on this extremely important national issue, in order to reflect the will of the Greek people.

As for pre-announcing concessions before the negotiation even begins, logic fails to provide an answer.

We do not want to attribute this to political naivety. Referring to retreats from positions that are the starting point of the negotiation, anything but promotes an honest compromise solution.

Mainly, a basic principle in a negotiation is to have even excessive claims against your interlocutor, so that you have the scope to make some retreats.

In the present case, we are not claiming anything.

We could put among the issues to be negotiated, the flagrant violations of the Treaty of Lausanne by Turkey, in Imvros and Tenedos, the issue of compensation to the Greek Orthodox of Constantinople, whose property was encroached upon, the operation of the Theological School of Halki, etc.

As a result, the upcoming negotiation is expected to be on Turkish unilateral expansionist claims. Athens has not understood that even if Greece were to satisfy all of Turkey's current demands, in a second year the next future unilateral Turkish claims would enter the negotiation table.

Information indicates that the Turkish president has "weighed" the underweight Greek political system.

Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

A question that arises is whether George Gerapetritis has the right to lead the Greek-Turkish dialogue without popular legitimation. The placement in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of a person who is not an elected member of parliament has popular legitimacy, it happened for the first time since 1977.

Let us also add the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexandra Papadopoulou, who has also not been elected by the people.

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Gerapetritis was Mitsotakis' early choice for the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This was evident from the contacts and the open communication channel he maintained with the former Turkish ambassador in Athens, Burak Özügergin, with whom they informally discussed Greek-Turkish relations, in the absence of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias.

According to the same sources, the two men had regular meetings at the house of a well-known personality in Athens and talked "about everything under the radar" !

In summary: The main guarantee of both the minister and the deputy foreign minister is Mitsotakis' absolute trust in them. Is this enough?

The awe-inspiring rival is Hakan Fidan whose rich CV contains all sorts of ventures, most prominently with the Turkish intelligence apparatus.

Someone referring to Fidan said: "Fidan's interlocutors are as comfortable as you would be if your interlocutor wore special glasses that make you look naked..." All this together outlines a dark background that only confidence does not exude.

The attitude of the opposition

If the new Mitsotakis government goes ahead with an agreement with Ankara making concessions that will not be accepted by the political system in general, it will hand over a powerful weapon to the opposition.

It is extremely doubtful whether the ruling party will be able to maintain its unity, with what this implies for Mitsotakis himself.

The positions of Kostas Karamanlis and Antonis Samaras are awaited with interest, given that our national issues are entering uncharted waters and the custodians of the New Democracy's patriotic DNA have an obligation to the nation to intervene decisively because this is existential for the country.

At this time, there is no room for personal pursuits that require diplomatic attitudes.

As far as SYRIZA is concerned, the shift in national issues of the New Democracy offers a great opportunity for its future leadership to reverse the deterioration.

They can do this by transforming the party into a modern centre-left party that will express the patriotic Left while keeping its distance from internationalism and rightism, obsessions which are at odds with prevailing social sentiment.

The statements about the Evros fence, in connection with other unfortunate statements, contributed the most to the electoral waterloo. If there is an obsession with the anchors advocated by the heavyweights of the party, its fate is predetermined.

When Alexis Tsipras, who possessed a charisma, failed to hold the electoral votes, whoever the successor is, if they do not dare to mutate the party, will see further shrinking.

Georgios Venetis studied Political Science and is also a graduate of the L'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier - les lettres, les sciences humaines et sociales, les langues et les arts. He speaks French and English. His interests are Geopolitics and History, and he is a regularly contributor to SLPress.

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