Turkey antagonising Greece at every opportunity

Turkey is trying to reach out to most countries in the region in a quest for a new, smoother and ultimately more beneficial – to Ankara itself – modus vivendi.

It has openly demonstrated this desire with Israel and clearly expressed similar intentions with regard to Egypt. It obviously recognises the special role and power of those two countries.

However, this is not the case with Greece – at least not yet – which it continues to antagonise with aggressive rhetoric and even provocative actions.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, who has chosen to invest – both politically and personally – in the “Blue Homeland” doctrine, has returned to the much-trodden path of aggressive rhetoric against Athens, with the latest manifestation being the accusation against Greece of supposedly trying to create precedents and engaging in provocative actions. This is something that Turkey will not allow, he said, adding that the Turkish Air Force and Navy “are already on alert” and doing what needs to be done to “protect Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction.”

Even though sources in Turkey insist that Ankara is not seeking an escalation in tensions with Greece, Turkish fighter jets and drones have been carrying out a barrage of unauthorised overflights in recent days over all the Greek islands subject to demands of demilitarisation from Turkey in the context of a baseless yet clearly well-planned policy.

It is a tactic that also mirrors domestic electoral expediencies stemming from the alliance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with Devlet Bahçeli’s Nationalist Movement.

As part of this apparent obsession with antagonising Greece, Bahçeli even went so far as to lash out at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky because he accused Turkey of double standards in the interview with Kathimerini and Greek state broadcaster ERT. Bahçeli accused Zelensky of showing a lack of respect and claimed that he would be better off trusting Turkey than Greece.

No matter what the pretext, Greece is constantly in the crosshairs.

(A version of this article was originally published by the Kathimerini newspaper and is reproduced by permission.)


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