France should be tamed…

France should be tamed…

Very much like what Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” France was told by Turkey to not stretch its head too much and poke its nose into everything.

The problematic recent performance of France, particularly after the Libya bombing that pulled NATO into the conflict and culminated into a blatant murder of the country’s strongman, Colonel Moammar Khadafy by a mob of Islamists, has been rather appalling. Sure, France is a big country. Definitely, it forms one of the fundamental pillars of the European Union. Irrespective of how young, how tall its leader might be, France has always been a source of cultural inspiration. Yet, like all colonial powers of the previous centuries, it has a share in today’s global problems because of the African, Asian and American blood on its hands. As they say that those living in glass palaces should think twice or even three times before throwing stones at others.

Because of the solidarity clause of the EU, its European partners might be unable to publicly say much against Paris, as they are unable to criticize publicly the uncompromising and greedy demands, positions and aspirations of the Greek and Greek Cypriot governments. Yet, it ought to be obvious that against Turkey’s continental rights, a small 9,113 km² formation, Kastellorizo, two kilometers off the Turkish coast cannot have territorial waters in a manner cutting off Turkey from the Mediterranean, putting aside an exclusive economic zone, a few hundred times bigger than its land size. It does not tell much about how strong the solidarity of the EU might be with Greece, or how prepared France is to fight for Greece against Turkey, to compromise on this issue will not be considered by any Turkish government.

The exclusive economic zone of Cyprus is limited within the scope of the exclusive economic zone as well as with the continental waters of Turkey. The Law of the Sea defines well on how continental shelf ought to be measured, as well as on the rights of the continental countries and restricted rights of the islands. Furthermore, didn’t the British, French, Greece (including the invalid accord it made with Egypt) agreed to establish median lines disregarding their islands and taking into account their mainland shorelines?

Asking Turkey to take the issue to the International Court of Justice at the Hague as if it is the sole problem between Turkey and Greece and as if Athens has been abiding with the terms of Lausanne regarding the Turkish population of the Western Thrace, might be a good example of a selective justice understanding. Regarding Cyprus, on the other hand, as there is no official contact between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration and since mutual acceptance is needed to refer the issue to the international court, which cannot be until there is a settlement regarding the island.

Another complication, however, carries the potential of exploding the Cyprus issue again in the near future. Under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and of Alliance between Turkey, Britain, Greece and the Cyprus Republic, the sovereignty of the island state was restricted. Cyprus could not have defense arrangements with any other country other than the three guarantor powers or join in political or military alliances where Turkey and Greece are both already members. Violation of this principle gives the guarantor parties the right to act together or alone to eradicate the transgression.

Now, by signing a defense cooperation agreement with France, Greek Cypriot have violated the terms of the agreement. Allowing France to deploy military sea vessels and two fighter planes on Cyprus territory is a clear breach of the 1960 agreements. Such a development is sheer provocation for war.

War is dirty, painful and definitely must be avoided. I was only 15-16 years old at the time of the 1974 Turkish intervention. I know what war is like. I know the pain of carrying the parts of the dismembered body of a friend who lost his fight under enemy bombardment. I know the pain of telling a mother that her son was killed in the battle. War is not something that anyone who fought once could think or praise again.

France should be tamed. The European allies of Paris should have the courage to tell Macron that war is no joke. Unfortunately, tensions are building up, and sending some warships to Crete and Cyprus and deploying two fighter jets at a Greek Cypriot airbase, can neither serve France or Greek Cypriot.

Eastern Mediterranean,