Discover more from The Hundred
Does Erdogan actually want to invade Greece?
#38: With Ryan Gingeras, Sinem Adar, Ioannis N. Grigoriadis
Thank you for reading The Hundred, a newsletter in which 3 experts answer 1 question in 100 words. If you aren’t subscribed yet, you can do it below. It’s free.
“Significant pressures may force Erdogan to behave aggressively. In the coming year he faces stiff electoral challenges. Turkey also will mark the centennial of its founding as a republic and the 1923 signing of a peace treaty with Greece. All of these events come amid a multi-year, state-endorsed media campaign that has consistently inflated the threat of war with Greece. Erdogan’s political opponents echo his threats to “come in the middle of the night” against Greece’s “occupied” islands. He may believe the time is now. And like the 1974 Cyprus invasion, he may weather any harsh repercussions accompanying an act of war.”
“Given Ankara’s confrontational foreign policy, its frustration with the changing military balance in the Aegean, and the growing strategic partnership between Greece and the US, military escalation is possible. Yet, the economic costs of such a conflict and its repercussions for Ankara’s relations with(in) NATO are likely to restrain warmongering tendencies. Beyond rational calculations, however, increasingly blurred boundaries between domestic politics and foreign policy suggest that the Turkish leadership’s struggle for political survival amidst accelerated geopolitical confrontation between the West and Russia might lead to sub-optimal decisions, especially in the face of the upcoming elections in both Turkey and Greece.”
“I do not think that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan actually wants to invade Greece. This would be a very risky move. A war with Greece would have disastrous consequences for all parties involved including Turkey. Inflammatory rhetoric against Greece has been linked to the proliferation of a narrative according to which Greece represents US interests against Turkey and is part of a greater conspiracy against Turkish interests. This narrative is very useful for domestic purposes but overlooks the fact that the improvement of US-Greek relations has become possible because of Turkey’s own foreign policy choices.”
If you want to learn more about this topic, here’s a list of further reading:
Tension rises as Turkey, Greece voice festering grievances. AP News, Andrew Wilks
Why Erdogan Might Choose War with Greece. War on the Rocks, Ryan Gingeras
Greece to allies: Crack down on Turkey or risk another Ukraine. Politico, Nektaria Stamouli
That’s it for The Hundred #38. Please share this post with friends and colleagues if you found it interesting.