Greece and Turkey Playing Nice?
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So, a Turk walks into a barâ¦
Oh wait, Iâm not telling a joke. Rather, Iâm writing an article. But thatâs difficult to remember when the Turk in question is ErdoÄan and the âbarâ is Greece.
Turkeyâs First Couple signing the book of honor as the Greek President looks on (Photo: Press service of the President of Turkey)
A friend recently sent me a BBC news item reporting on an historic visit by a Turkish President to Greece, the first in 65 years. You wonât be surprised to learn that ErdoÄan played the boorish guest almost as soon as he arrived. Fortunately, he was put in his place. Too bad he wasnât shown the door right back out of the âbar!â
On the first day of his visit, ErdoÄan was whining about insufficient âsupportâ¦in terms of investmentsâ for and âdiscriminationâ against Turks in Greece. He also asserted that some points of the Treaty of Lausanne lacked clarity.
The temerity and unmitigated shameless brazenness of this latter day wannabe Sultan is more breathtaking then a kick in the gut. Supposedly, Athens appointed a mufti (leader, Islamic expert) for the Turks living in the country rather th an allowing them to choose their own. I donât know what the rules are regarding the filling of this position, but for the purposes of this discussion, they are not relevant.
Aside from the fact that this probably only means the guy ErdoÄan wanted didnât get the job, the hypocrisy manifested is astounding. Does ErdoÄan have multiple personalities? Is one of those unaware that the other is jerking around Turkeyâs Armenian community around, preventing the election of a new Patriarch of Bolis? And, in this case, there are well established rules dating back to the adoption of the constitution governing such procedures back in 1863.
The discrimination complaint is equally hypocritical. I suppose thereâs yet another ErdoÄan personality in charge of jailing and murdering Kurds, one more for mistreating Alevis, a fifth for discriminating against Jewsâ¦
The funniest ErdoÄan âplaintâ is the one about the lack of clarity in the Treaty of Lausanne. He wants to rejigger it to make it even more favorable to Turkey, I suppose. Perhaps we, along with other signatories, should propose a deal, the mother of all deals (to make President Trump happy). Weâll agree to reopen the Lausanne Treaty if Turkey first accepts and re-signs the Treaty of SÃ¨vres (I would bet the Greeks would jump at the opportunity to sign, which they refused to do at the time, since they would do much better territorially). Then, it would only make sense to rework Lausanne. How about it, Mr. ErdoÄan? Letâs trade treaties.
Luckily, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who is also one of Greeceâs foremost law experts, shut down his visiting counterpartâs absurd proposal, saying: âThis treaty, to us, is not negotiable, this treaty does not have any gaps, does not need a review nor an update. This treaty is valid as it is.â
Clearly, despite the view of analysts that ErdoÄan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras share a warm relationshi p, there is no spillover of âwarmthâ into the overall relationship between the two countries. Nor, rightly, should there be, for so long as Turkey continues to violate Greek air and sea space, oppress the few thousand Greeks remaining in Turkey, continuing its occupation of Cyprus, and generally being a bad neighbor and destabilizing force in the region.
Perhaps we Armenians must take it upon ourselves to remind Greece that making nice with Turkey under these circumstances will only lead to more losses. Should we start a campaign to write letters to Greek ambassadors worldwide? Maybe by taking them to a barâ¦
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