Mitsotakis and Erdogan's renewed diplomatic dance amidst historic tensions
By Nikolaos Stelgias
As global geopolitics whirl in turbulence, a beacon of potential diplomatic transformation shines from the New York UN General Assembly. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have reignited talks, indicating a possible thaw in their historically frosty relations. Vima newspaper portrays their recent interactions as a refreshing departure from age-old animosities. However, seasoned diplomats tread with cautious optimism, recognizing the intricate challenges that loom large.
Diplomacy in action
A renewed emphasis on dialogue and proactive conflict aversion is evident. The aggressive posturing of yesteryears is giving way to an era of collaborative overtures and mutual trust-building.
The High Cooperation Council, slated for December 7 in Thessaloniki, is a testament to this renewed zeal. Mitsotakis alludes to impending agreements that could redefine the ties binding Greece and Turkey.
As a precursor, the Political Dialogue, set to initiate on October 16, will witness Foreign Ministers Alexandra Papadopoulou of Greece and Burak Akcapar of Turkey deliberating on critical bilateral matters. These deliberations, bolstered by their countries' recent camaraderie during natural calamities, will further pave the way for the High Cooperation Council.
Beyond mere words, concrete actions are anticipated, with the Ministry of National Defence poised to reinstate confidence-building measures. Joint endeavors, especially in migration and climate change, underscore the collaborative potential. Yet, the deafening silence on the Cyprus conundrum reminds us of the unresolved wounds.
Turkey's renewed diplomatic vigor with Greece appears as a strategic balancing act, especially when viewed against its complex dynamics with the European Union, Moscow, and NATO. The stability of Greek-Turkish ties plays a pivotal role for NATO, especially given Russia's assertive stance in Ukraine—a sentiment resonated by U.S. foreign policy architects.
Energy and Cyprus
The reshaping diplomatic ties also affect Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean energy projects. Turkey's aspirations to solidify its stance in this arena might find a conducive ground for improving Greek relations. However, while diplomatic channels buzz with hopeful dialogues, fundamental disparities persist—a reality experienced diplomats acknowledge. Yet, the prevailing mood celebrates the budding peace, transient though it might be.
Pierros Tzanetakos, in his incisive commentary for Protagon.gr, delves deep into the nuances of the Greek-Turkish relationship. The burgeoning frequency of leadership meetings denotes a shift towards cooperation. Yet, Tzanetakos, reflecting the perspective of many Greek experts, highlights the perennial challenges.
Greece's approach, rooted mainly in legal frameworks, often clashes with Turkey's historical-political interpretations. These divergent views raise questions about territorial integrity, sovereignty, and maritime rights. Mitsotakis, in his conversation with CNN's Richard Quest, encapsulated the sentiment succinctly: "We can agree to disagree on territorial issues."
Despite the buoyant dialogues, clouds of uncertainty persist on the Cyprus front. Prominent reports, including those from Vima, suggest that recent discussions have not yielded tangible outcomes for the Cyprus situation. Erdogan's advocacy for the "TRNC" recognition was swiftly met with Greek rebuttal, highlighting the deep-seated schisms yet to be bridged.