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WorldAsiaWhat do Greece and Cyprus expect from Recep Erdogan's new presidential term?

What do Greece and Cyprus expect from Recep Erdogan’s new presidential term?

In Greece and the Republic of Cyprus – Turkey’s closest neighbors, with which Ankara has territorial disputes – they have reacted cautiously to maintaining the presidency of Erdogan, 69. Thus, Athens, in brief congratulations to the Turkish leader on his re-election, wished “peace to the Turkish people”, while in Nicosia they expressed hope for “the continuation of negotiations on the settlement Cypriot”.

The RG correspondent asked the Greek and Cypriot experts how their countries see Turkey’s next steps in their region and beyond.

Georgios Dzogopoulos, Senior Researcher at the Hellenic Foundation for European and International Studies (ELIAMEP):

The results of the presidential elections in Turkey suggest the continuity of Turkish foreign policy. In addition, the victory of Erdogan’s political party (Justice and Development Party – approx. “RG”) in the parliamentary elections two weeks ago means that the Turkish President will control the majority in the National Assembly, as well as during his previous presidential term. With that in mind, we know what to expect in the years to come.

Turkey will continue to cooperate with the United States, but will also cooperate with Russia when it sees its own advantage. Ankara’s economic ties with China will also gradually expand. Turkey will try to translate its balanced and self-reliant approaches on the international stage into practical results. Such, for example, as mediation in the conclusion of a grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

The Turkish-American negotiations will be difficult, but the United States does not want to “lose” Turkey. EU relations with Turkey will follow the same trajectory and, in general, the EU-Ankara partnership, as usual, will lead to both agreements and disagreements.

As for the eastern Mediterranean, Greece’s relations with Turkey should return to the period of tension after the summer period. The problems between the two countries are long-standing and have the potential to turn into dangerous crises from time to time. The United States will continue to mediate between the countries, but history shows that Greece and Turkey have completely different agendas and understandings of dialogue.

The history of Greek-Turkish relations serves as a mirror to understand their future, but the situation around Cyprus is more confused. Turkey will continue to insist on its policy of creating two independent states on the island in order to strengthen its negotiating position ahead of a new round of negotiations on Cyprus settlement. If negotiations on this issue fail again, friction on the island will increase. Given the rapprochement of the Republic of Cyprus with the United States, the agenda of disagreements between Turkey and America will widen even more.

Zenonas Tsarras, lecturer at the Faculty of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cyprus and author of the book “8+2 myths about Turkish foreign policy” published in 2022:

For Greece and Cyprus, Erdogan’s re-election means continued uncertainty about stability in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s foreign policy is also expected to continue to be revisionist and antagonistic rather than conciliatory and collaborative.

There will be no change regarding Ankara’s position on the Cyprus issue. There could be a short period of calm in relations between Greece and Turkey as Erdogan tries to improve his country’s relations with the West, but tensions will eventually return.

Relations with Russia and Eurasia will continue to be positive, although Turkey may take certain pro-Western decisions (such as lifting its veto on Sweden’s entry into NATO) which could antagonize the Russia. All of this will take place against the backdrop of Turkey’s attempts to rethink its position in its relations with the West.

More broadly, Turkey will aim over the next five years for a more autonomous role that simultaneously maintains relations and instrumentalizes both the West and Eurasia. Refusal to assume obligations towards these parties. This will create the conditions for continued tension (more or less intense depending on the period) and permanent crisis management diplomacy.

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