Greek-Turkish relations will be on red alert for the next 66 days, after yesterday’s announcement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he is calling presidential and parliamentary elections for 24 June.
With heightened tensions in the Aegean and Ankara having declared the Greek Imia islets as being under Turkish sovereignty and unleashing attacks on the European Union over its withering country report on Turkey this week, Athens is concerned about the unpredictable course of Ankara’s nationalist outbursts and expansionist tactics in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
Athens’ concerns are heightened by Erdogan’s electoral collaboration with ultranationalist Develet Bahceli’s National Movement Party (MHP).
Bahceli has unleashed a number of nationalist attacks against Greece in recent weeks, threatening that Turkey can pull out the teeth of uppity Greeks and declaring that the bottom of the Aegean is full of the Greek leadership’s ancestors.
Indeed, it was Bahceli who first floated the idea of early elections on 17 April.
He had symbolically proposed as the date of elections 26 August, the day that the Seljuk Turks won a major victory against Byzantium and captured Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes.