The setting was being prepared for quite some time. There were inflammatory statements against Greece, but also against traditional allies such as the US, and of course the intervention in Syria, to shore up the national, patriotic sentiments of the Turkish people. Hence, Erdogan’s decision to call snap elections, with a brief, two-month campaign, was to be expected.
The Turkish president is in a rush to put into effect the increased presidential powers that he managed to impose, albeit it with a marginal majority, after the 2016 abortive coup. If he wins, he will be the absolute master of Turkey over the next years, without needing to constantly renew the state of emergency he has imposed, using the Gulenists as a pretext.
With the opposition fractured and subjected to extreme nationalist rhetoric, Mr. Erdogan essentially has no strong opponent in a position to challenge his dominance.
His only problem is the Turkish economy, with the Turkish lira tumbling, deficits increasing, and increasing economic uncertainty for large swathes of the population.
The two months of the electoral campaign are expected to be rife with ultra-nationalist salvos, as all parties have taken to this strategy, not just Erdogan. What this may mean for already tense Greek-Turkish relations remains to be seen.
What is obvious is that it will be difficult for the Turkish president to abandon his expansionist, neo-Ottoman aspirations, with all that this may mean for Greece and for the broader balances in the already problematic region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
At this juncture, the case of the two imprisoned Greek army officers remains problematic, as the prospect of their release is very likely to become entangled in the electoral battle.
What is certain is that, whatever the electoral result, Turkey will remain a difficult neighbor, which will continue to fuel tensions and cultivate disputes in the Aegean and Cyprus.
It has often been proven in the past that whoever is in power, the Turkish political system does not easily change its strategy towards our country.