The current developments in the refugee crisis make me wonder how difficult and uneasy it must be for Europe – a continent of 500 million people – to try to deal with a situation, whose successful completion depends to… the cooperation of Turkey! A country that historically and culturally has never had sincere relations with Europe, while it has never tried to comprehend the historic achievements of the Old Continent that have affected mankind.
Furthermore, Turkey thought it could become a considerable, regional power, by drawing up “axes” in the Balkan ground and by pursuing, “special” economic relations with the European Union.
That policy failed in both parts. Turkey now hopes to benefit from the refugee issue, since it is part of the solution to the problem. It is only fair to ask for a financial support in order to offer aid to 2.7 million refugees, but the European Union has so far disbursed only 3 out of the 6 million euros, agreed in November 2015. Now the European Union says it would provide Turkey with money gradually, according to the implementation of the agreement. This should ring a bell to the Greeks!
The Greeks by the way share strong ties with the citizens of Turkey. Commercial relations are also important. The big question is whether the political, economic and diplomatic leadership of Turkey will – at some point – decide to view Europe as a ground for cooperation and progress. Now is the ideal time, as some superpowers – not the EU – have been working on plans that could prove negative for the future of Turkey. Some scenarios even mention the division of the country.
Greece however has always been a positive factor to Turkey. It has declared right from the start that it wants Turkey in the E.U., it’s been disregarding Turkey’s provocative behavior and it is in favor of a profitable cooperation. That was the policy applied by Konstantinos Karamanlis, and all the following governements. And it’s been a right and successful policy.
Developments in the European Union after the EU-Turkey summit have raised concern among the Europeans. And fear. They see the governments of central Europe jointly ignoring the problem and EU officials declaring their support to them. They admire Angela Merkel, Alexis Tsipras and Matteo Renzi for their European consciousness and they demand that all leaders undertake their responsibilities. The European Union is the greatest achievement of the 20th century and they should carefully protect it.
*Konstantinos M. Pantzios is a journalist and a political analyst.
PHOTO: The European Union