By producing a surplus of police violence and repression, the Government is trying to fill the gaps that are being created by the absence of a strategy regarding the Greek-Turkish relations and the Macedonian dispute, as well as the refugee-migration issue.
Regarding the migration issue, reactions from local communities both in the islands and inland are continuing, even though the media, which are very much part of the Government’s propagandistic scheme, exacerbate the issue. It is mainly the blue-collar officials of the Local Government, however, which react the most, as they “do not understand why the flows towards the land borders at Evros have been increasing for four months now, and why the deterrence does not work in the Aegean”.
Overall, those are the same executives and that same public with a right-wing ideology who voted for New Democracy and happily listened to former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the 13th New Democracy Congress addressing the Macedonian dispute and calling for a ” policy to tackle the consequences of the withdrawal from the Prespa Agreement”. Although this is indicative of the New Democracy voters’ preferences, the leadership of the government is moving in a completely different direction, taking initiatives to boost Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession prospects. It is clear that the New Democracy government is moving in the direction of the US and Germany on this issue as well, in the opposite direction from France, which prioritizes EU deepening rather than its further enlargement.
At the same time, Paris is the only ally that has explicitly condemned Turkey’s recent provocative actions through its Agreement with Libya. The Greek Government strives to present Turkey as isolated and claims that no government has recognized the Turkish-Libyan Agreement. At the same time, however, it is equally true that no Government other than France – and perhaps Tel Aviv, the rivalry of which with Ankara is infamous, has explicitly condemned Turkey.
Government officials have been struggling, as usual, with the help of the ever-eager media, to control the impressions inside the country. Therefore, in addition to the “isolation of Turkey” that, as was officially disclosed, was diagnosed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself in his meeting with Erdogan, they have been also promoting “the strong and resolute attitude of the Prime Minister who pretty much said it to Erdogan’s face that he did not live up to what he had promised in their previous meeting in New York in the context of re-launching the Greek-Turkish relations”. After that, they put out the “calmness and determination to deal with a possible escalation from the Turkish corner with the dispatchment of research vessels”, but refrain from clearly stating that “researches into Greek territorial waters constitute a casus belli”, as Vice President of Piarliament Nikitas Kaklamanis blatantly stated and as more and more executives have been silently advocating.
Yet the embarrassment of the government also seems to be reflected in the fact that it cannot handle the issue of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). The day before the meeting with Erdogan, the Defense Ministry leaked that “the CBMs would freeze because of the Libya-Turkey Agreement”. Immediately after the meeting, by proceeding to a statement as if he were a neutral observer, Mr. Mitsotakis noted that “the CBMs would continue as normal”. In a communication on Sunday, Nikos Panagiotopoulos also said that “the discussions on CBMs cannot continue as long as the provocative statements continue”.
The Turkish officials’ statements, of course, continue, reaffirming the estimations that Tayyip Erdogan is following a planned strategy. What is worse, however, is that the Greek Government still does not seem to have understood what the possible implications of Erdogan’s strategy are and how to deal with it. It has not been clarified whether it will reopen the debate on taking the “only difference Greece has recognized over time”, that of the Continental Shelf, to The Hague, whether it will enter into a discussion process on the co-operation of energy sources in the areas that Ankara has not acknowledged, if that means that sovereignty rights will be lost. And, of course, there is no strategy regarding the major issue, which is the full saturation of Greece, through the revision of the Treaty of Lausanne.
Again, the right-wing New Democracy partisans react once again; as was the case in the Macedonian dispute, they sympathize with Antonis Samaras who, before the escalating Turkish provocations, had warned on the one hand that simply condemning Turkey was not enough and that a comprehensive policy change was needed. Dissatisfaction with the Government’s phobic attitude and unsuccessful handling in the personal relationship with Erdogan intersects with discontent regarding the Macedonian dispute, and adds to the hitherto ineffective moves in the migration issue.
Within this broader context, the political leadership of the Ministry of Citizen Protection has given orders for harsh treatments of the protestors and, despite the backlash, three days later it continues to back up the shameful acts of the Police. The fanatical blue voters might get frustrated by the compromising stance when it comes to the Macedonian dispute, and especially when it comes to Turkey, but will nonetheless cover their ill-fated mentality with the satisfaction they get when defenseless citizens are humiliated by their very own rule of law and order. /ibna