Saturday, 15 May 2010
Erdogan comes to town, has a good laugh
Regarding Sultan Erdo’s visit to Athens, I hope no Greeks were fooled by his brazen attempts to convince them to submit to Turkey and join the Neo-Ottoman project. As Erdogan reeled off the usual nonsense about Cyprus and the Aegean – telling Greece at one point that Greek Air Force fighters that chase off Turkish intruders should do so unarmed, as if it were any of Turkey’s business how the Greek Air Force behaves over Greek territory; and at another point laughing at Greece’s entirely rational fear that Turkey’s long-term aim is to seize Greek islands and partition the Aegean – it would be easy to accuse the Turks of shameless hypocrisy and duplicity. Except the Turks aren’t sophisticated or subtle enough to be duplicitous. Turks mean what they say and in fact cannot countenance any notion that their discourse – whether on Cyprus, Halki, the Aegean or Thrace – is wrong or imperfect. Turks see no contradiction between wanting ‘peace’ with Greece while at the same time eyeing Greek territory, no gap in logic or honesty between wanting to join the EU and continuing the occupation of Cyprus. Turks are, more than anything, obtuse, incapable of empathy, and Greeks have no alternative other to remain suspicious and cynical of their neighbour's intentions.