Friday, June 5, 2009

The illusion of Greek-Turkish friendship Part Two

This is part two of a series of translations selected by Dr Ioannis Mazis which appeared on the Anixneusis website (a talk show on Greek television channel ET3). The first part of this series can be accessed here. The translations are from a book titled "Stratejik Derinlik” (or Strategic Depth in English) first written in 2001 by the newly appointment Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Dr Ioannis Mazis, is the professor of Geopolitics and Economic Geography at the Ionian University. Mazis seeks to highlight how Greek commentators have selectively used readings from Davutoglu’s books to make inferences which are not matched by Davutoglu’s writings on Greek and Cypriot relations with Turkey.

[Sub-title] The strategic Gordian knot of Turkey: Cyprus

Cyprus, which occupies a central position in the global continent [Eurasia] - located almost equidistant from Europe, Asia and Africa - is together with Crete, on a line that intersects the sea lane passages. Cyprus occupies a position between the Straits [of Hormouz], which separate Europe and Asia, and the Suez Canal, which separates Asia and Africa; while its current position is like a stable base and aircraft carrier, which acts like a pulse in the seaway of Aden and Hormouz, which together with the basins of the [Persian] Gulf and the Caspian Sea, are the most important lanes connecting Eurasia-Africa.

Page 176:

A country that ignores Cyprus can not be active in global and regional politics. In global politics it cannot be active, because this small island occupies a position that (may) directly affect the strategic linkages between Asia-Africa, Europe-Africa-Asia and Europe.

It cannot be active in regional policies, because Cyprus, with its eastern tip projects like an arrow towards the Middle East, whilst its western ridge is like a foundation stone of the strategic balance existing in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and North Africa.

Page 178:

Turkey, due to its geographic position, is influenced by many forces, but is required to assess its Cypriot policy, outside of the Turkish-Greek equation.

The Cyprus policy is a rapidly growing problem of Eurasia and Middle East-Balkan region (West Asia-Eastern Europe). The Cypriot policy [of Turkey] must be placed in a new strategic framework, appropriate to this new strategic context.

The Cyprus issue's importance, from Turkey’s perspective, can be traced along to two main axes.

One of them is the axis of humanitarian value, oriented towards ensuring the security of the Turkish Muslim community, as a result of the historical responsibility of Turkey. (...)

Page 179:

(...) A failure [of Turkey] to [possibly] secure and protect the Turkish community of Cyprus can be spread like a wave in Western Thrace and Bulgaria - and even in Azerbaijan and Bosnia.

The second important pillar of the Cyprus problem is the importance of the island from a geo-strategic viewpoint.

(...) Even if there was no Muslim Turks in Cyprus, Turkey is obliged to have a Cyprus issue. No country can remain indifferent towards such an island located in the heart of that vital area. (...)

Page 179:

This geo-strategic importance has two dimensions. One of them has a close strategic importance and relationship with the Turkish-Greek balance and T.D.V. Cyprus-Greek section [sic!] in the eastern Mediterranean.

The second dimension of the geo-strategic importance and significance is related to the position of the island within a global and regional strategy.

Page 180:

Cyprus cannot be ignored by any regional or global power which makes strategic calculations in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the Suez, the Red Sea and the Gulf.

Cyprus is situated at such an ideal distance from all these areas which (may) affect each of them directly. Turkey’s strategic advantage on Cyprus gained in the 1970’s, must build on it not as part of a defensive Cypriot policy aimed at preserving the status quo, but providing fundamental support to an aggressive maritime strategy.

As stated before, this series of translations also helps to highlight what Turkey’s strategic moves mightbe over the next 10-15 years - intentions which markedly contradict the purported Greek-Turkish friendship.

Source: Anixneusis (Ioannis Mazis)

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