Greek mishandling risks escalation with Turkey - Kathimerini

The Turkish establishment is waging a war of words with Greece and the real danger for relations between two countries is the Greek governments poor handling of the dispute, journalist Babis Papadimitrou wrote in Kathimerini newspaper on Thursday.

“There will be no war with Turkey. There is no objective reason for this,” said Papadimitrou, noting that only an error in handling the diplomatic high tension between two countries could lead to a military incident.

Papadimitrou said Turkey was already at war, due to the government’s purge inside the country following the 2016 coup attempt and Turkey’s military operations against Kurdish forces inside the country, as well as in Syria and Iraq.

“In the case of Greece, the Turkish establishment is waging a war of words” and “the real danger is that with every passing day, because of poor government handling, Greece’s fate is increasingly linked to what happens to Erdoğan and his establishment,” wrote Papadimitrou.

Papadimitrou said the Greek government ought to have ensured trade-offs with Turkey before president Erdoğan’s visit to Athens in December 2017, a trip that marked the beginning of a verbal spat between two countries.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, from the right-wing junior coalition party, was the number one threat to the country, Papadimitrou said. 

Kammenos said on Monday that Erdoğan had “gone completely crazy” and said “you cannot answer to a madman”.

“During Erdoğan’s visit, Kammenos turned into a human bomb ready to explode in the hands of the prime minister,” Papadimitrou added.

During his visit to Athens, Erdoğan suggested revising the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which defined Turkey’s borders with its neighbours after World War One.

Relation between historical enemies Greece and Turkey have long been strained, but tensions have increased this year with the arrest of two Greek soldiers who strayed over the border into Turkey and Greece’s refusal to hand back eight Turkish soldiers accused of taking part in the coup.