Taksim Square protesters370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
As the fog of the post Iran and Afghanistan wars dissipates, it is clear that
the state of Hellenism as personified by Greece and Cyprus has declined in the
face of the emerging hegemony of Turkey in the region.
leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his neo-Ottoman Foreign
Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey has reinforced its regional claims in the
Aegean Sea and in Cyprus through its new-found strategy of “Strategic Depth.”
Davutoglu’s views “Turkey as the epicenter of the Balkans, Middle East and the
Caucasus, the center of Eurasia in general and [as] the Rimland Belt, cutting
across the Mediterranean to the Pacific.”
Since the Turkish invasion of
Cyprus in 1974, the Greeks have answered this threat to their sovereignty by
protesting at international venues. The result has been Turkish intransigence
and increased confidence.
Despite this erosion of Hellenic sovereignty, a
tipping-point opportunity for Hellenism may be at hand in the aftermath of the
Taksim Square Uprising. Turkey’s internal problems have highlighted the
nonwestern and non-democratic trends that have characterized the Erdogan regime.
The situation illustrates the dichotomy of Turkey’s persona; on the one hand a
face of western democracy in a Muslim body; and on the other hand an autocratic
Ottoman face that while applying for EU entry, continues the military occupation
of an EU country and threatens war on another over oil in the Aegean, and
generally shows a disrespect for the rule of law.
After nearly five
decades of acquiescence, the opportunity has finally come for Greece to
officially tell Turkey that they do not belong in the EU unless they respect the
sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus, a position that is silently supported by
most EU members, although not necessarily for the same reason. The Hellenic
countries should revitalize their joint economic, political and military
activities to strengthen peace in the region and clearly advocate the following:
• Economic: Creation of a Hellenic Economic Council for the revitalization of
the Hellenic economies of Greece and Cyprus.
• Political: Removal of
Turkish military forces from Cyprus and the establishment of EEZ2 in the Aegean
for the exploitation of Greece’s oil reserves, as well as reinforcing Hellenic
• Military: Modernization of the Greek and Cypriot
militaries within the EU & NATO structures, and the reaffirmation of the
Hellenic Military Defense Pact.
• Diaspora: Mobilization of the Hellenic
Diaspora as the fourth column of the revitalization campaign, and the
establishment of a Hellenic National Fund.
The successful implementation
of the Hellenic Revitalization Campaign must encourage support from our partners
in the EU and NATO, and our allies, including the US, the UK and
A strong and stable Hellenic presence in southeastern Europe and
the Eastern Mediterranean is in the interest of all the stakeholders, and
reinforces the EU’s and NATO’s security in the region.
A strong and
stable Hellenic presence will level the playing field and lead to cooperation
with Turkey across all sectors.
A strong and stable Greece and Cyprus
will serve as a catalyst for the economic resurgence of the region; a market of
250 million consumers.
And finally, a strong and stable Hellenic presence
will better manage the explosive predicament of illegal migration to the
Observers should not underestimate the will of the Hellenic countries
and the value of a strong and stable Greece and Cyprus. The “tipping point” of
Taksim is an opportunity for Hellenism to reassert a regional balance of power
for the promotion of peace and security in southeastern Europe and the Eastern
Mediterranean.The author is a former US Army foreign area officer, a
graduate of the Hellenic Army Supreme War College and former general manager of
GE Wind in southeastern Europe, and president of Blue White Capital LLC.
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