A strange Franco-Greek alliance against Turkey
It has become clear that France and Greece see the mandate of the first EU presidency in the first half of 2022 as an opportunity to advance their adversarial policies against Turkey, especially in the context of the conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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French President Emmanuel Macron uses almost every platform to voice his categorical demonization of Turkey as the sole country responsible for regional problems, including Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria, the Caucasus and others.
The fact that Macron continually refers to Turkey not only in terms of current regional issues but also even in historic discussions over Algeria clearly shows that the French president wants to further exploit anti-Turkish rhetoric as an important tool ahead of the next ones. elections.
Keeping the anti-Turkey agenda alive can be used to cover up Macron’s failures on many international platforms, especially in the aftermath of the crisis with the United States over the submarine deal with Australia.
This is sufficient evidence to expect more from French leaders before the presidential elections.
As for Greece, the Athens summit with the participation of the foreign ministers of Greece, France, Greek Cyprus and Egypt is not surprising. It is a continuation of Greek efforts to establish regional alliances mainly against Turkey.
These alliances are more than purely political, as they involve large arms deals and frequent military exercises that demonstrate a dangerous military build-up against NATO’s second largest army in an already unstable region.
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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, known for his aggressive statements on Turkey, described the scope and content of the four-way meeting in the most direct way. “The challenges we face in the Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya are the same. And the common denominator of most of them remains neighboring Turkey, ”said Dendias, in his long anti-Turkey speech. Ironically, he also argued that “today’s meeting is not a meeting against Turkey”.
Fortunately, not all the countries of the EU and the Mediterranean share this Franco-Greek categorization which qualifies Turkey as a “common denominator” or as a source of threat in the context of regional problems.
Take Spain and Italy, for example. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was in Turkey last week for intergovernmental talks, described Turkey not only as a neighbor but also as “an ally of the European Union”. Welcoming the very good relations between Turkey and Spain, Prime Minister Sanchez pledged to further deepen cooperation with Turkey in various fields. (It is also not surprising to read in the Greek media the mood of panic in Athens following the Hispanic-Turkish talks on further cooperation in the field of the defense industry.)
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Italy conducts a very balanced diplomacy vis-à-vis Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean and has never ignored Turkey’s role. That is why consultations between the two countries have never been abandoned. In the meantime, Germany, as the leading European power, prefers to focus on the continent’s real problems and slips on Greece’s calls for a tougher European stance against Turkey.
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In addition, the continued de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean makes the Greek appeals invalid and inappropriate. With the exception of a few provocative maneuvers by Greek Cyprus in trying to deploy a science vessel in the disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean, calm reigns and offers a very good opportunity for an inclusive Mediterranean conference with the participation of all the countries of the littoral.
Not so long ago, the EU tasked Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, to work on the organization of a conference to address issues related to the Eastern Mediterranean. Instead of participating in weird alliances against a NATO ally, wouldn’t it be a better achievement for Paris to help Borrell organize an inclusive meeting during his presidential term?