It is by now obvious that Turkey wants to exhaust all bureaucratic and formal procedures so as to extend the incarceration and trial of the two Greek army officers.
The story of their capture is evolving into a diplomatic and military thriller, with an unforeseeable outcome and repercussions. The choices of Mr. Erdogan, who loses no opportunity to provoke and create tensions, are equally unpredictable.
It is not by chance that the nonchalance with which the Greek government handled the issue in the first two days turned into alarm and concern thereafter.
One cannot ignore that the incident at Evros comes on the heels of escalating Turkish aggressiveness. The ramming of the Greek Coast Guard patrol boat at Imia, the increasing rate of air and sea violations in the Aegean, the inflammatory rhetoric of Turkish officials, and the aggressive posture in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), all demonstrate that Ankara will not hesitate to create incidents, torpedoing the climate between the two countries.
The Turkish leadership, possibly in part because of the domestic problems it faces, and due to the failures of the Syrian operation, appears to have chosen a strategy of stirring tensions with Greece, constantly startling the country’s political and military leadership.
One must also not forget that Erdogan has made the case of the eight Turkish military officers, who sought asylum in Greece after the 2016 coup in Turkey, a major personal issue. The Greek Supreme Court blocked their extradition to Turkey.
Unfortunately, next door we have a neighbor that over the last decades, with very few breaks, provokes tensions and problems in any way possible.
Even worse, today Turkey has an unpredictable leadership that is inspired by neo-Ottoman expansionism, and resorts to methods and practices that have little to do with states that operate under the rule of law.
Like it or not, Greece has become entwined in this strategy of tension, in order to defend its citizens and rights, hopefully with a plan, seriousness, a sense of consequence, and based on international law.
However, with a divided and polarised domestic front, often over fleeting, partisan objectives, it is the responsibility and duty, above all of the government, to hammer out a common, national position, without bias or other ulterior motives.
When issues of broader national interest are at stake, dividing lines and domestic, civil war-type clashes have no place. Let all and sundry realise this, before it is too late.