Erdoğan and Tsipras: a strategic alliance?
Greek Prime Minister Tsipras has visited Turkish President Erdoğan. Despite many bones of contention such as Cyprus, natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean and the extradition of Turkish soldiers currently in Greece, the two statesmen sought harmony. The press sees little reason for joy nonetheless.
Visit without consequences
Clearly there is little room for improving bilateral relations, To Vima Online points out:
“With both Greece and Turkey in the midst of an electoral cycle, it is almost certain that one cannot expect determinative decisions to improve the climate over the coming months. It is also clear that geopolitical tumult in the broader region of the Southeastern Mediterranean does not for the time being permit important bilateral initiatives. The visit this time may not have had dramatic implications, but beyond social graces and the agreement that there is a need for continued dialogue, it did not lead Greek-Turkish relations even one step forward.”
Pragmatism the best practice
Tsipras's visit once again shows that it's better to focus on cooperation than on antipathy in Greek-Turkish relations, Hürriyet Daily News writes:
“It was of course the wisest way for Greek national interests to support Turkey's EU admission. Rather than having an antagonist web of relations between itself and Turkey, it must be far better to have a Turkey trying to cope with the EU norms and standards and good neighborliness. After all, Greeks are pretty sure as well that there is no possibility of Turkey achieving full EU accession anytime soon as long as the present-day one-man rule and culture of confrontation are not replaced with a functioning democracy and a culture of reconciliation.”
Tsipras the courageous
Columnist Nagehan Alçı praises Tsipras in Habertürk for going through with his meeting with Erdoğan even though the Greek press raked him through the coals for it:
“For him the most important issue was Cyprus. Tsipras wants to open a channel for dialogue with Turkey on critical issues, in particular the exploitation of natural gas. It appears that progress was made on this point during his meeting with Erdoğan. ... I must admit I was wrong about Tsipras. When he came to power I was fooled by his populist rhetoric. ... His speech may be populist, but his acts are reasonable, rational, and smart. ... He is swayed neither by radical nationalists nor by the radical left, he's not afraid to take risks and as a result he's growing stronger by the day, above all in foreign policy.”