Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis, Europe risks getting a new hot spot on its periphery – this time at its southern borders: the Foreign Minister of Northern Cyprus, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, recently put forward an ultimatum to the UN.
“Hospitality is over. Either they sign an agreement (on the presence of a peacekeeping contingent. – Approx. Ed.), Or they leave. We decided to give the UN another month. It is not for the government of Greek Cyprus to agree to the presence of a mission in the north – we must do this, ” he said.
Yesterday, 08:27Erdogan says Turkey has nothing to talk about with Greece
In the middle of the 2000s, the UN made active attempts to find a peaceful solution and even proposed the Kofi Annan plan , which provided for the creation of a single state with two autonomies. The Turkish population supported it, but the Greeks opposed it.
From the outside, it may seem that Ertugruloglu’s rhetoric indicates Turkey’s attempts through Northern Cyprus to increase the degree of tension in relations with NATO partners , but such a conclusion would not be entirely fair.
The fact is that the reason for the next escalation was the US decision to lift the embargo on the supply of heavy weapons to Cyprus, which US Secretary of State Ned Price announced in mid-September. Interestingly, Congress supported such a step back in 2019 – Washington feared a possible rapprochement between Nicosia and Moscow after an agreement signed in 2015 that opened the Russian fleet access to ports in Cyprus. Seven years ago, this was of particular importance against the background of the operation of Russian troops in Syria . However, in March of this year, Cyprus withdrew the permit.
Ankara did not ignore Washington’s decision to resume arms supplies to the Cypriots. The Turkish authorities reacted in the opposite way: on the eve of Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish drones were already deployed in the territory controlled by the TRNC.
At the same time, one should not forget about Greece as one of the sides of the confrontation. Its participation is not limited to supporting Nicosia – in parallel with the escalation in Cyprus, disputes between Athens and Ankara over the ownership of the islands in the Aegean are becoming more acute . Against this background, at the end of September, joint exercises of the Greek and French fleets began here.
The day before, Erdogan said that the deployment of Greek troops in the east of the country and on the islands, as well as naval maneuvers, have no military significance for Ankara, since the power of Turkey many times exceeds the potential of Greece.
At the same time, the first two have a few more questions for Erdogan related to the eastern flank of Turkish policy – namely, the confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia . If Ankara openly supports Baku , then Nikol Pashinyan ‘s government is looking for contacts with Western partners. This week, on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit, the Armenian Prime Minister met with the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan. And at the end of September, he visited Paris, where he held talks with Emmanuel Macron .
In parallel with this visit, another important trip took place: Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper at the Pentagon and visited the CIA headquarters in Langley. All this after the visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Yerevan .
That is, this is the second conflict where the positions of Ankara and its NATO allies are on opposite sides of the barricades. And if in the east Erdogan can still count on his partners to turn a blind eye to his activity, as before, then the confrontation on the western borders of Turkey threatens a full-scale war of at least two member countries of the alliance.
September 12, 11:44 amCavusoglu warned Greece about the consequences of “adventure at the expense of others”
However, hasty registration of Turkey among Russia ‘s allies would be unacceptable naivety. Recall at least the situation with the payment system “Mir”, the difficulties with the work of which began immediately after the end of the tourist season. And this is only the most recent, but by no means the most important example of Ankara’s unreliability as a partner.
The point is that Erdogan, one of the first ambitious leaders of countries striving to become key players in the international arena, caught the wind of change in his sails. This is what helps him maneuver between the interests of the great powers, while remaining at the same time inconvenient for everyone, and all the necessary counterparty. The collapse of the old system of international relations, which we are witnessing now, creates a window of opportunity for such politicians. The traditional centers of power are now forced to be flexible with third countries, whose role is growing, and seek their support. But in the dark waters where the Turkish leader swims, it is very easy to run into reefs.
However, what not to do before the elections.