Greece’s opportunities

by G. E. Sekeris

(“Ta Nea”, 9 January, 2002)

Tomorrow the Prime Minister will meet an American President made stronger by the events of 11th September; a president whose prime concern is now the fight against terrorism and who is, on the basis of what is evident, approaching what is of particular interest to Greece in the Balkans, as well as Greek-Turkish relations as a whole, with an eye on anti-terrorism. This has double-edged repercussions on Greek interests.

As for lands north of our border, the US plan to reduce its military presence there, and probably its geopolitical vigilance too, adds to the risk of further destabilization of the region. On the other hand though, it provides an opportunity for Greece to play a more active role in the stabilization of the region by, in part, taking the place of the withdrawing Americans. In this way Greece indirectly contributes to President Bush’s anti-terrorist campaign while serving the country’s interests. Duality also characterizes the effect the events have had on our relations with Turkey. As Washington is counting on Ankara’s co-operation so that it can implement its plans for the Middle East, among other things, it is obliged to show greater understanding of the Turkish position while at the same time hoping that this does not exacerbate relations between Greece and Turkey. This would inhibit its exploitation of these two allies and would also disrupt its concentration on the war against terrorism.

The Greek leadership is, therefore, called upon to make use of what is good, and deal with what is bad in the new international state of things, so as to secure the co-operation of the super-power in expanding Greece’s role in the Balkans, and also in finding an acceptable solution to the Cyprus issue as well as averting a Greek-Turkish crisis in the event of Nicosia becoming a member of the European Union without having reached such a solution…


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