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Hopes, facts and reality in the background of the upcoming Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting

Tomorrow, everyone is expecting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Athens, wishing for better days in Greek-Turkish relations and for the consolidation of the climate of "calm" in the Aegean.

A few hours before leaving for Greece, the "Sultan" said: "Tomorrow I am going to Greece. After that, on December 18, we will pay a visit to Hungary. In the framework of mutual respect and common interests, starting with our neighbours, we will strengthen our cooperation with the countries of the region."

The hopes

The Greek government is approaching the upcoming High Cooperation Council with Turkey with a sincere willingness to cooperate, as the consolidation of a positive climate is an important step in Greece's relations with the neighbouring country, government sources underline.

They also point out that special emphasis is being placed on a positive agenda that is mutually beneficial.

On Thursday, December 7, during the fifth High Cooperation Council between Greece and Turkey, agreements, memoranda and joint declarations (some of which concern cooperation between organisations and institutions, such as Entreprise Greece) are expected to be signed in the fields of economic and trade cooperation, health, education, tourism, sports, research/technology and rural development.

In the context of their bilateral meeting, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to discuss the next steps in relations and contacts between the two countries based on the three pillars agreed upon during their meeting in Vilnius last July: political dialogue, confidence building measures, positive agenda.

Facts and reality

The reality is that it was only on the 4th of this month that Greece, as it has the right to do so, issued the NOTAM A4368/23 by which it committed three areas for an aerial exercise of the Greek navy and air force from 8 December to 14 December.

The two areas are adjacent to Chios, Psara and Samos and the third is east of Karpathos.

Turkey therefore proceeded to issue NOTAM A9211/23 in which it states that Greece, in violation of the Treaty of Lausanne and the demilitarization of islands that it defines, is proceeding with an exercise and the NOTAM that it has issued contains the islands of Chios, Samos and Psara which have a demilitarized status.

48 hours before he sets foot in Athens, Erdogan orders that no exercises should take place on the Greek islands.

Since March to date there have been 45 violations of air traffic rules and 31 violations of national airspace with the last 8 recorded in September and October with 6 and 2 respectively.

At sea, since March to date, 828 violations of national territorial waters by Turkish naval and coast guard vessels have been recorded. As far as maritime violations are concerned, it is worth noting that the General Staff has not yet entered the months of September, October and November on its website.

In Cyprus, the occupying forces are trying to change the status quo in the buffer zone with movements of their soldiers.

At the same time, of course, neither the Casus Beli has been lifted, nor the doctrine of the "Blue Homeland" has stopped being promoted with constant references to it by Turkish officials, and of course neo-Ottomanism has not been frozen with the Turkish fleet sailing along the coast of Libya, i.e. in Greece's backyard...

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