Time to say new things
Even though for the time being eastern Mediterranean tensions were replaced with direct, covert, discreet talks and bargain of various sorts, it must be clear to everyone that seeking peace or resolution in installments will not be possible at all.
Probably, it is not the wisest time to bog down in “Cyprus will not be a second Crete” and such discussions or remind our Greek friends that Turkey has never come to terms of war since the declaration in 1982 and 1995 that expanding Greek territorial waters in the Aegean to 12 miles would be casus belli. Probably it is not the wisest time for Greece to undertake such a move that might land itself in a total catastrophe, far serious and immense than the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Neither the Sept. 6-7, 1955, shameful events in Istanbul against the Greek minority of the city nor the Dec. 21, 1963, genocidal attacks on Turkish Cypriots that continued off and on in Cyprus by Greek Cypriot hordes on Cyprus until 1974 Turkish intervention can be forgotten.
Given the larger interest of the peoples of Greece, Turkey, and the two communities of Cyprus, it might be the right time to avoid even if we cannot forget and forgive the blatant refusal of Greece to accept the ethnic identity and religious rights of the Turks of Western Thrace, including refusal to allow the Thracian Turks elect their mufti.
A well-placed retired admiral recently reminded at a webinar speech that by putting aside inspection of troops by the Greek president, deployment on the islands, including those Turkish ones under occupation, troops and heavy war machines, could provide Turkey certain rights under both Lausanne Treaty and other multilateral and bilateral accords. We may even consider bypassing that issue for now.
As is said, war and diplomacy are sisters. War might be considered some sort of diplomacy conducted with guns while diplomacy might be a war with the use of the law, compromise, dialogue and give and take process. If international law today has become – thanks to the Americans, Russians, the French and of course Turkey and many other mighty countries – the law of the powerful rather than the power of law, being resolute and prepared to fight if it becomes absolutely impending then it can be a strong deterrence shield that might prevent troubles slide into the swamp of war because of some bad designs, intransigence or sheer expansionist or just “it’s all mine” greed.
Obviously, Greece cannot deploy arms systems and troops on neither the Kastellorizo island, those small islands or islets illegally occupied by Greece, nor on the Dodecanese islands. Turkey cannot accept the claim that those islands and the Kastellorizo island, just 8 square kilometers piece of land, which is 1.8 miles off from Turkish mainland, cannot have exclusive economic zone, territorial waters or any other right in a manner compromising Turkey’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
Such a claim, to say the least, is hostile and aims at turning Turkey, a country with the longest Mediterranean coastline, to accept and become a landlocked country with almost no access to the Mediterranean. This is a greedy expansionist policy that Turkey cannot accept.
The Asia Minor Catastrophe is part of the Turkish War of Liberation and is a source of pride for the Turkish nation. Apparently, Greece could not accept after so many decades that it was defeated at Izmir and washed off from the lands it occupied.
Gentlemen meeting at NATO headquarters or politicians discussing at the European Union Commission building perhaps should remember that before a Turkish-Greek peace is made, before the balance between Greece and Turkey is re-established (it was seriously hurt with Greece joining in and later the Greek Cyprus unilateral accession in the EU) there can be no permanent peace in either in the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean or in Cyprus.
It is now high time to say new things.