The EU Should Stand With Greece on Turkey

 


Choppy waters. Photographer: Ali Ruhluel/Anadolu Agency

The EU Should Stand With Greece on Turkey

Europe faces several foreign policy dilemmas. The Eastern Mediterranean is an opportunity to prove it can unite before an external threat.


The tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean should be a straightforward matter for the European Union. A member state, Greece, faces territorial claims from a neighboring nation, Turkey.

Instead of rallying behind Greece, however, several EU countries are taking an ambivalent approach, as they are fearful of the political and economic repercussions of antagonizing Ankara. This poses a fundamental issue for the bloc: What does this club of nations stand for if it is not ready to protect its members?

The hesitation risks causing a justifiable sense of resentment in Athens, only years after the EU’s messy handling of Greece’s sovereign debt crisis. It also risks setting a dangerous precedent for all member states. If Turkey can exploit the divisions within the EU, other countries, such as Russia and China, will be able to as well.

Turkey has long sought to redraw its maritime boundaries with Greece. But its long-standing claims have gathered new force in light of recent gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey has become more aggressive in encroaching on the area. The diplomatic spat now threatens to escalate into all-out war, as the two countries engage in military skirmishes in an increasingly tense area of the world, which includes Libya, Israel and Egypt. Cyprus, another EU member state, is also contending with Turkish demands.


Ferdinando Giugliano writes columns and editorials on European economics for Bloomberg View. He is also an economics columnist for La Repubblica and was a member of the editorial board of the Financial Times.  Read more opinion