Greece eyeing rapprochement with Turkey in bid to recover economy - analyst

Greece has prioritized the entente with neighbouring Turkey in order to gain time to push the country’s economy back onto a positive trajectory, European affairs analyst Yannis Koutsomitis said.

Greece’s economic recovery has been the most important factor behind Athens' agreement to mend ties with regional rival Turkey, Koutsomitis told journalist Nervana Mahmoud in an Ahval podcast series Turkish Trends on Tuesday.

Following a year of heightened tensions, Turkey and Greece have initiated joint action and cooperation on tangible projects, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday, underlining that the two countries have agreed on 25 topics for better ties.

“The government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis came to power in 2019 with the promise of economic prosperity and recovery and the Mitsotakis team knew that the only thing that could jeopardize the economic recovery would be a crisis with Turkey,” according to the analyst.

“The prolonged conflict with Turkey has been undermining the economic prospects of Greece,” Koutsomitis said.

Turkey, for its part, has also changed its policy towards Greece following the failed coup attempt in 2016, according to the analyst.

Koutsomitis maintained that following the election of Joe Biden as the U.S president, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan realized that he could no longer maintain his aggressive policies that were tolerated by the Trump administration. Turkey has also changed its policy towards Greece following the failed coup attempt in 2016.

“What Turkey is offering to Egypt is to bypass the international law and to seal a personalized bilateral agreement. However, it does not work that way,” said Koutsomitis.

“Turkey cannot drop its support to the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a part of the global Muslim Brotherhood alliance,” he added.

Koutsomitis said that a maritime agreement would have to make huge concessions by both Turkey and Greece, which would prove to be a very difficult political move in both countries.