Greece and Turkey are “at the brink” of serious conflict and the U.S. — a traditional mediator — is “nowhere to be found”.
This is the analysis published in long-running U.S. current affairs magazine Foreign Policy, which claims “populists on both sides” are pushing the two countries down a dangerous path.
Amid the regular incursions into Greek airspace, disputes at Imia, the detention of two Greek soldiers in a Turkish jail and the recent death of a Hellenic Air Force pilot in the Aegean, many are wondering if a full-scale conflict is becoming more likely.
Journalist Yiannis Baboulias writes that as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “neo-Ottoman dreams are in full gear” it is unlikely the unpredictable moves from Ankara will stop any time soon.
However, Greece’s unlikely coalition government of left-wing SYRIZA and its Independent Greeks partner also come in for scrutiny, particularly Defense Minister Panos Kammenos:
“Kammenos and his party have repeatedly put Tsipras in an awkward position by making belligerent and even aggressive statements toward Turkey, or simply by simply being confused about the government’s own policy.
“Kammenos, as defense minister, has repeatedly taunted the Turks, making statements along the lines of “let them come and get it.’”
In the end, Foreign Policy lays the blame for the recent escalations at the door of Turkey, with its leader “having seemingly decided that he has leverage over the European Union after agreeing to take responsibility for stemming the Syrian refugee crisis”.
That Erdogan on Wednesday called snap elections in Turkey for June 24 means it is likely the rhetoric across the Aegean will continue for the time being.