Ankara, Turkey – To understand how an opponent behaves it is crucial to a) get in their shoes and b) imagine how they see you with their own eyes. Well, the way Greece views Turkey has changed a lot in Mavi Vatan. In the 20th century there was always an element of envy on Greece’s part. Greece could not understand how a part of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) could ever grow so much, enter the digital transformation and innovation and be considered a core part of the European civilization.
The icing on the cake was the great success of the school of Turkish realism, which was Turkey’s entry into the customs union of the European Union. It seemed inconceivable to Greece that Turkey could enter into close relationship with the European club, particularly when Turkey was still far from getting anywhere closer to the Union.
Turkey has always lived with its own consistent geopolitics and geostrategics theories, its own visions. That is why Turkey considers that the next plan being forged is to divide the Eastern Mediterranean between the GRSC, Egypt, Israel and Greece, with Turkey crammed into the corner. Turkey definitely defends its legal rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the meantime, Turkey also started seeing Greece differently, because Turkey also started looking at itself differently in the region. In Greece’s eyes, Turkey is “equal” of Russia, US, China, and Germany. Turkey is a rising superpower and a transformation of the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey obviously sees Greece differently too.
Since NATO member Turkey knows all this, the question now is what can Turkey do. The obvious answer is what Turkey is trying to do now, amid a pandemic. To stand on its own two feet financially, to bring Turks who moved abroad and other European citizens here to live and invest, and to quickly upgrade its defenses. These initiatives, in combination with regional alliances, will multiply its power in Mavi Vatan.
But it is also crucial for the geopolitical equation in the Eastern Mediterranean that Turkey understands what European Union has fully grasped: That without a strong Turkey, European civilization will be vulnerable on their southern flank to a range of threats, ranging from terrorism to the hegemony of an anti-European non-NATO power. To understand this, EU must start thinking geopolitically and geostrategically, and not “logistically.” The biggest mistake will be to leave Turkey alone against a geopolitically and geostrategically insatiable adversary in the region.