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Erdogan, Greece, Cyprus and the NATO summit

Featured Erdogan, Greece, Cyprus and the NATO summit

In Turkey they know the media game well. And they know how to handle the media. They have also studied the Greek press well. Recognizing the thirst for statements that could be interpreted as including barbs against Athens.

Lately – since the deadly earthquakes in Turkey – Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stopped giving fodder for comments to the Greek media.

In his last statements, on Monday night, after the ministerial meeting, however, there was an edge about the shipwreck off Pylos that claimed the lives of hundreds of refugees, which could also be considered an indirect reference to Greece.

"No rescue attempt was made"

And as such it was interpreted.

More specifically, Erdogan said that "racist terrorist attacks are not only directed against Muslims, but also against Jews, Africans, Asians, Roma and immigrants. We saw this once again in the disaster of the ship that sank off the Peloponnese last week and led to the death of hundreds of refugees. No serious effort was made to save these people, while this accident did not occupy the news as much as the five rich people who lost their lives to see the Titanic. These oppressed people were forgotten in a short time like the thousands of lives that are lost in the waters of the Mediterranean every year."

With the phrases "no serious effort was made to save these people", causing discomfort in Athens.


Erdogan actually shows a willingness to use the wreck off Pylos to have the migrant/refugee issue in his quiver of "weapons" at the NATO Summit that is expected to be under a lot of pressure, with his refusal to lift the veto against Sweden.

Immigration is directly linked to its relations with the EU and Euro-Turkish relations, as well as its claims.

While it is expected to be seen in practice if he will raise it with his interlocutorsand in what way .

Tips and maps

And if Athens is looking for barbs against it from Ankara, it does not seem to react to the clear issues raised by Nicosia, through the Cypriot press.

More specifically in Nicosia, the information that the "Republic of Cyprus" which annoyed Ankara on the maps of NATO's regional plans, will "disappear" as a name and will be described through coordinates.

With US intervention?

In an article in the Cypriot "Fileleftheros", it is noted that the maps were changed with the intervention of the USA. However, it is emphasized that "the Republic of Cyprus does not, as is known, participate in NATO. NATO, however, constantly makes many requests to Cyprus and receives all the facilities. And for crossings and for exercises in our area. For the Americans, for NATO, the activation of the new maps for the plans (regional plans) is obviously a priority as they are considered operationally critical and very useful. Beyond that, Nicosia, as a non-member state, does not have the possibility to react. It certainly has some tools, albeit limited. From then on, he should, at least, realize that the Americans have no inhibitions when it comes to serving their interests or those of the Western allies, to act forgetting any "friends" and "strategic partners". There is no room for delusion."

The article argues that "dissatisfaction should be expressed strongly".

And it is quick to include Athens in the frame, which, as it emphasizes, "participates in NATO, and has the possibility of intervention".

What the US was asking for

According to Phileleftheros, the Greek reaction is of interest to Nicosia. It emphasizes, however, that "in recent years, the Greek government offered everything the Americans asked for generously and in a "celebratory atmosphere", considering that this was done at the expense of Turkey, while the political system upgraded the role of the American ambassador in Athens . Of the past ambassador but also of the present one. As has been confirmed over time, they are not going to abandon Turkey. And when it tries to leave the western fold or gives such messages, the spigot of gifts opens even more. For Greece, there is obviously another approach as it is taken for granted. And they think it can work without many requirements. Or not any  whatsoever! Therefore, why should they change their attitude".

The article claims that "almost all member states of the Alliance tolerate the behavior of occupier Turkey and show 'understanding' of Athens's ... remarks. But up to there. But the Greek state also practices... an implicit policy, which facilitates the continuation, the perpetuation of this attitude". It calls on the "easterners" to perceive the specific realities.

Even if NATO's move regarding Cyprus was more or less characterized as "expected" by those who know the practices being followed, the question is indeed whether there will be a reaction and to what extent. It's not known hether the issue was discussed in the contacts between foreign miinisters Geraptritis and Kombos in Nicosia, as well as whether it will be raised in the meeting of the Minister of National Defense, Nikos Dendias, with his counterpart, Michalis Giorgallas in Cyprus.