Dec 29 2017

Turkey-Greece in a ‘cold peace’ – The Economist

Turkey and Greece are no longer at each other’s throats, but a full rapprochement is still unlikely, British magazine The Economist said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Greece visit was not as ‘historic’ as Ankara wants to portray it, the magazine said, as Erdoğan himself had visited the neighbouring country as Turkey’s prime minister in 2004 and 2010, when the bilateral relationship was getting better.

It has since declined due to airspace violations, territorial claims over inhabited rocks in the Aegean Sea, Greece’s denying of Muslim Turkish minority’s rights, Turkey’s own human rights violations, and the ongoing Cyprus problem, The Economist said.

If anything, Erdoğan’s visit was marred by a ‘tense exchange’ with his Greek counterpart who ‘categorically ruled out’ any revisions to the Lausanne Treaty as Erdoğan suggested, or the extradition request for eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 2016 coup attempt.

The magazine said:

The good news today is that Turkey and Greece are no longer at each other’s throats. (Instead, they are discussing energy and other infrastructure projects.) The bad is that there is practically no room for improved relations as long as Mr Erdoğan keeps up the irredentist rhetoric. What once promised to be a genuine rapprochement now resembles a period of ‘cold peace.’

The best one can hope for is that the two neighbours will continue doing business and talking—and keep the provocations to a minimum.