Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Turkish opposite number Ahmet Davutoglu aren’t getting along too well. It is the age-old issue between Greece and Turkey: getting the Turks to recognise Greece’s right to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on the Aegean Sea, and persuading Ankara that Greek islands close to Turkey are called Greek on account of being owned by Greece.
It was only very recently that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras went to Turkey to make soothing noises in public with Recep Erdogan (left), but the latter is a confirmed expansionist who’d like Cyprus back, never mind the Greek islands off his coast.
Yesterday, Avramopoulos told Greek media that “Nobody should doubt our willingness and determination to defend this [EEZ]. International law is our gospel.” One somehow can’t see this one being settled quickly.
Erdogan continues to be an inflexible pest in the region. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticised his reference to Zionism being simply a form of fascism. “Tt was not only wrong, but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilisations is based” said Ban Ki-Moon’s office afterwards.
What the Turkish leader actually said was “Zionism, fascism and Islamaphobia are crimes against humanity”. Everything Recep dislikes tends to be a crime against humanity. He would no doubt say the same thing about the Kurds were it not for the fact that he needs the support of their MPs to complete the next step he wants to take on the way to dictatorship: rewriting the constitution to enshrine a presidential system, allowing him to stay on and be completely in charge beyond Parliamentary terms. So he’s been making peace proposals to the Kurds, but when Kurdish MPs visited Turkey’s Black Sea coast as part of the warm-up process, they were stoned and then besieged by an angry mob. So things are looking uncertain on this front too.
But none of this bothers the loons who run the EU. A Dutch member of that contingent Senator René van der Linden pitched up in Ankara to tell Turkish MPs that Turkey would always be close to his heart, and it was time for “a new new springtime in relations between Turkey and the European Union.” ‘Springtime for Recep and Turkey, winter for Israel and Greece’ spring to mind, but the entire idea is mad: not only would it offer EU passports allowing Islamists to move freely around the continent, there is the small matter of Turkey demanding that an existing EU State really belongs to them. And don’t get me started on the Ponzi scheme that is the Turkish economy.
Sarkozy was violently opposed to the idea, but since his humiliation, France is allowing EU documents once again to refer to Turkish accession as a ‘when’ thing rather than an ‘if’. Perhaps Paris figures that Grexit will solve the problem. For myself, I think it will become a non-issue for two potential reasons: the collapse of Erdogan’s economic ‘strategy’, or the implosion of the EU. It just depends which happens first. Meanwhile, it may well be easy for a Dutchman to sleep easily at night knowing that Turkey is close to his heart; for the Greeks, Turkey’s dagger is rather too close to their hearts for comfort.
Things go from bad to disastrous in Greece itself, but several people have remarked to me recently that it has “all gone quiet there”. It’s the media that have gone quiet, not the Greeks. Talking to a contact there last night, it appeared a bomb had gone off in their local Post Office at the end of the street. New Democracy is pandering to the Nazis, who now want a law to ban those ‘not of Greek blood’ from serving in the armed forces. But at last, senior crooks are getting arrested, and the erasure of key names from the Lagarde List continues to bubble under. The west european media may be bored, but the senseless and unjust Greek suffering continues in every class, home and neighbourhood. This is geopolitical engineering courtesy of Berlin-am-Brussels, coming to somewhere near you very soon.
In such circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that law-abiding Greek citizens are shifting their savings elsewhere. The huge success of English banks in attracting the lion’s share of this capital flight reflects what has always been a real bond between the Brits and the Greeks, but probably not very much common sense. Were I trapped in the Chateau d’If, I’m sure I’d like to be somewhere else – just not Colditz. For you fiat currenzy, zer var iss oaffer: in a bank or under a bed, its value is going to be inflated away. The trick over the next five years will be to have assets that are cheap to run. They too will fall in value, but at least they will be far more use than lavatory paper.