by George Gratsos and Costas Souyoultzoglou*
At the time of writing, it is becoming more than obvious that the historical analysts of the future will have no difficulty in describing the current inertia in applying Delayed Sanctions to Turkey until December as Too Little, Too Late.
Fallacy Number One: Any serious evaluation of the present situation will acknowledge that we are dealing with Erdogan, who has mounted an assault on the judicial independence of his country, the freedom of the media and civil rights of his fellow countrymen. His regime hardly qualifies as a democratic state with the vast amount of imprisoned “dissidents”. The same applies to his disrespect of international law. Turkey is rapidly becoming a Rogue State that intervenes wherever it chooses per his grandiose scheme to reinstate an Islamic/Ottoman “empire” and maintain his grip on power.
In the EU, self-interest appears to be the primary moving force of deliberate delay tactics as Germany, Italy and Spain (GIS) profit from providing materiel and equipment for Turkey’s armed forces, in direct contravention to international obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Canada recently complied with UNATT. Time for Germany, Spain and Italy to do similarly, to prove their correctness. The EU has the Solidarity Clause1, enshrined in article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enforces the legal obligation for “the Union and its Member States to act jointly in the spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a man made natural disaster”. They will assist such a Member State “at the request of its political authorities”. Turkey is acting like a terrorist. The Trio (GIS) should immediately act like Canada did.
As past records reveal “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Spain in WWI was neutral; Italy started with the Central Powers, soon chose neutrality and slanted toward the Entente. In WWI the Greek King, Kaiser’s cousin, wanted to remain neutral. 6 PMs changed. Venizelos revolted, went north, and proclaimed the “Thessaloniki Government” fully siding with the Entente 2. Germany and Italy in WWII were the Axis Powers. Spain and Turkey were neutral slanting towards the Axis Powers. Just before their collapse they joined to “help” the victorious Allies. Turkey didn’t fire a shot! This in itself shows their “strong convictions” to “sway with the wind”, which they appear to still be doing. Greece resisted, fighting Axis powers for 219 days. All other European countries together totally resisted ~156 days!3 Greece delayed Nazi attack on the Soviet Union ~100 days.
Note that German–Turkish relations have their beginnings from the Ottoman Empire and have culminated in the development of strong bonds with many facets including economic, military, cultural, and social relations. German officers even commanded Turkish armies, a sign of “extreme objectivity”!4. Time for some EU countries to change sides before it’s too late.
Any serious study of present daily escalations of Turkish threats against the sovereign rights of other EU member nations must abide by the Solidarity Clause article 222 of the TFEU without consistently avoiding bearing the burden of the EU’s commitment to solidarity. That is EU law and post WWII European civilization. The EU must try never to forget the1938 Munich Appeasement and its effects. Delayed sanctions cause escalation of problems going forward, temporarily protecting some EU members’ cash income to the detriment of the whole. This is no Clause 222 Solidarity. It only escalates Islamic Turkey’s provocation and future costs, and is a sign of poor cost/benefit analysis. The EU has no right to turn a blind eye on a member state. The imposition of Prompt and Rigid Sanctions without further delay is Paramount in such circumstances.
Fallacy Number Two: Most economists will readily accept, the mere threat of the imposition of such measures to an increasingly weak Turkish economy is more than a sufficient message to Turkish leadership in order to take all possible action to avoid the downfall of their economy. Failure to acknowledge this undisputed reality can only be accounted for by ignorance, dubious hypocrisy, and lack of statesmanship on both the EU and the Turkish side.
One must also focus on moral and political issues involved when assessing that economic interests of at least three member states of the EU, namely Germany, Italy and Spain, presently willing to supply critical military equipment, will result in tipping the balance of any impending military confrontation in favor of Islamist and Undemocratic Turkey, harming their fellow EU member states. This is not EU Solidarity. No nation can be willing to be part of a union of self centered nations willing to become the political accomplices to imminent consequences that will be followed by Islamic Turkish aggression. Then EU would have no reason of existence. Rapidly unfolding confrontation between Greece and Turkey is the “acid test” for the EU. “Actions speak louder than Words”.
Perhaps, the leaders of these three EU member states need to be reminded of the famous 1941 WWII broadcast by Winston Churchill when meeting with Franklin Roosevelt on board the USS Augusta. ‘’When I looked upon today’s densely packed congregation of men of the same faith, of the same fundamental laws, of the same ideals, it swept across me that here is the only hope, but also the sure hope of saving the world from a measureless degradation.’’
Finally are we to conclude that Greece is to become the sacrificial victim for maintaining a meaningless Solidarity, giving priority to the alleged protection of the economic interests of Germany, Spain and Italy, those very same EU member states whose interests seem to have been aligned to those of Turkey since the Ottoman days?
*Ph.D. U. of the Aegean on Shipping Market Dynamics, B.Sc. MIT N.A.M.E. and London School of Economics and Political Science