The Turkish-Greek relationship now that the elections are done

Nadum Jwad*


It is said that the late Algerian president Hoari Bumedian told the French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing during an official visit to Algiers in the 1970’s that the relationships between the two countries can be good and can be bad, but it could never be normal.  This is also true of the relationships between Greece and Turkey which seems to go up and down reflecting many current and historical factors, and they could be good or bad, but never normal.

As the world seems to be so much focused on finding “alternative energy sources” and huge electrical cars (the biggest consumers of fossil fuels) factories are popping everywhere (as in the case of Canada and the USA), it is seen that conflicts are also popping up around the world between countries which are claiming the ownership of huge oil and gas fields, as in the case in the South China Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that a crisis is brewing between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and possibly Iraq, for the exploration of the huge Dorra field which is located in the un-demarcated maritime border area between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  And despite the fact that all these countries have the world’s largest oil and gas fields, it is interesting that they are still feuding over the ownership of more.

Turkey and Greece have their fair share of disagreements on many issues given the complexity of their long and historical relationships.  The focus of this article will be, however, on one issue which is the exploration of oil and gas in areas they share and could be a flash point given that the two nations have recently undergone highly publicized elections which ended in reinstating and strengthening the hands of two charismatic and strong-willed leaders, namely Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (69) in Turkey and Kyriakos Mitsotakis (55) in Greece.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election, for the first time in a runoff, on May 28, 2023 (Al Jazeera.)  It was a nasty and bruising election which took place in hard circumstances engulfing Turkey from runaway inflation, highly devalued Turkish currency, and a devastating earthquake among other things.  President Erdogan ended with just over 52% of the vote, and almost half the electorate in this deeply polarized country did not back his authoritarian vision of Turkey (BBC May 29, 2023)

Erdogan addressing his supporters, May 28, 2023

Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy underwent two elections this year.  On May 21, it won the majority of votes but did not win an outright majority, so Mitsotakis called for another snap election in June (Euronews, Greek voters face new election in June as New Democracy seeks majority, 21 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.)  One month later he once again led his party to a majority in the June 2023 Greek legislative election and was sworn in as prime minister receiving the order to form a government by the President (“Kyriakos Mitsotakis sworn in as Prime Minister”. Archived from the original on 26 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023.)

The elections in those two countries have resulted in two leaders with comfortable majorities and strong mandate to govern, and therefore, can tackle the many issues which are of contentious nature between them.

The two leaders met recently face to face on the sideline of a Nato summit and agreed to build on a recent thaw between the estranged neighbors.  They also agreed that the High-Level Cooperation Council would meet in Thessaloniki, Greece, in the fall, according to a readout from both governments. The council first met in 2010, but its last session was in 2016.

Greek Prime Minister addressing his supporters, June 26, 2023

The two countries said in a joint statement that they “look forward to more frequent contact at all levels, towards building a climate of trust and the conditions that will lead to the improvement of Türkiye-Greece relations.”

The meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, followed signs of interest in a reconciliation, after Greece rushed to the aid of Turkey in the immediate aftermath of devastating earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in the country’s southeast in February. It was the first encounter between the two leaders in 16 months and lasted twice as long as scheduled.

Erdogan’s meeting with Mitsotakis raised hopes that the two countries could try to defuse disputes over maritime zones and reduce tensions between their militaries from the Aegean Sea to the energy-rich Mediterranean, where Turkey has vowed to defend its own rights as well as the rights of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the divided island of Cyprus.

There is no quick path to resolve the complicated disputes between the neighbors, but both sides consider the restart of dialogue as a positive move forward.

Mitsotakis reiterated in an interview his will to even take the demarcation of maritime zones to the international court. He also made clear that this is the only issue he’s willing to discuss with Erdogan.

Turkey, however, wants to pursue other issues, including the demilitarization of Greek islands in the eastern Aegean that Athens says are already covered by international treaties.

Earlier on Wednesday, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias said in a Twitter post right after his meeting with his Turkish counterpart that “the two sides agreed to be in contact, so as to arrange a meeting for Confidence Building Measures activities.” Those measures aim to reduce tensions — mainly on the military front — by improving contacts between the armed forces of the two countries at various levels.

Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler’s office confirmed that the pair emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive agenda and keeping communications channels open.

The two countries have until now recorded little progress in resolving disputes and talks to reunify Cyprus remain stalled. The island was divided in 1974 after Turkey captured the northern third with the declared purpose of protecting a Turkish-speaking minority following an Athens-backed coup by supporters of union with Greece (Erdogan meets Greece’s Mitsotakis to build on recent thaw, Bloomberg News,  Jul 12, 2023.)

The Gas dispute between Turkey and Greece

Tensions between Turkey and Greece were unusually high three years ago when the two NATO member states narrowly avoided a military confrontation over a Turkish move to conduct a drilling survey in contested waters of the Mediterranean ( (Erdogan meets Greece’s Mitsotakis to build on recent thaw, Bloomberg News,  Jul 12, 2023.)

In June 2020, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Turkey of being a “threat to regional peace,” following wide-ranging talks in Jerusalem with his Israeli counterpart.

In his first foreign trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Mitsotakis condemned “Turkey’s aggressive behavior in the eastern Mediterranean.”

“We consider this activity to be a threat to regional peace and stability,” Mitsotakis told journalists after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Along with Cyprus, Israel and Greece signed an agreement in January on building an undersea pipeline to carry gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

Ankara stands opposed to the deal and has sent ships to search for energy reserves off Cyprus, while last week the Turkish military conducted an air and naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean (Online Kashmir News, June 17, 2020)

On August 12, 2020 the two sides came dangerously close into a fight.  That day, five Turkish frigate  escorts were sent to protect the Oruc Reis, an exploration ship designed to hunt for undersea oil and gas. The Limnos, an elderly Greek frigate charged with protecting Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (eez) from such predations, watched warily from a distance. On August 12th they collided after a clumsy maneuver.

Both governments tried to keep the incident under wraps, but Greek navy officials soon leaked details to local news websites. “We have fewer and older ships, but we protect Greece’s maritime rights,” boasted one veteran naval officer. Greece’s defense minister is said to have congratulated the captain of the Limnos. “If this goes on, we will retaliate,” thundered Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president. “We shall not leave either the dead or the living of our kin alone.” After a call to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, said that he had decided to “temporarily reinforce” France’s military presence in the region with two fighter jets and a pair of warships in order to “make sure that international law is respected” (The Economist, August 20, 2020.)

The issues of disagreement between Turkey and Greece

The maritime dispute between the two countries centers on three issues: 1) disagreement over the boundaries of Greek territorial waters and the ownership of certain islands or isles in the Aegean Sea; 2) the question of the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the eastern Mediterranean; and 3) the unresolved nature of the Cyprus crisis. In addition to these matters, Turkey also contends that a number of other issues, such as the sovereignty or demilitarized status of certain Greek islands, remain unresolved and hence need to be addressed.1 For its part, Greece rejects these demands outright as a violation of its sovereignty.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean

With respect to the first issue, Ankara and Athens disagree on the roles and extents of the islands in generating the EEZ, with the former taking a more restrictive view and the latter a more expansive one. With respect to the latter, Turkey objects to the Republic of Cyprus (or, more specifically, the Greek Cypriots) being the sole conductor of energy exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean. By insisting on political equality between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Ankara contends that the Turkish administration in northern Cyprus (which is only recognized by Turkey) also has rights to undertake energy exploration activities and issue licenses.

Yavus and Fatih are Turkish drilling ships

In this way, the interlocking set of maritime disputes between Turkey and Greece is strongly tied to their conflicting projections of national sovereignty. As the following sections will demonstrate, these maritime disputes have since morphed into geopolitical confrontations and power struggles between Turkey and a set of countries including Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France, and the UAE as a result of tensions over energy exploration and the Libyan conflict (Brookings, January 28, 2021.)

Greece and Turkey overlapping claims in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Israeli factor

The Israeli government office press reported on June 28, 2023 the following; “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday (Wednesday, 28 June 2023), spoke with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and congratulated him on his sweeping election victory.

The two leaders said that a trilateral, Israel-Greece-Cyprus meeting should be held as soon as possible and emphasized that it would deal with the energy issue, among other topics,

The two leaders also agreed to continue tightening bilateral cooperation in various areas including technology and artificial intelligence.

The Israeli prime minister was probably the first world leader to congratulate the Greek PM on his win and it reflects the deep friendship between the two men.

Relations between Greece and Israel “are taking off” and not slowing down, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in an exclusive interview with Kathimerini. Cohen was in Athens last week, in his first official visit to Greece.

Benjamin Netanyahu, right, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Jerusalem, June 16, 2020

The minister spoke of a big increase in tourist arrivals this year, noting that Israel rose to sixth place among the countries from which visitors come to Greece, while Israeli investments in tourism in the last decade rose more than a billion euros. Cohen also noted the business deals and investments in defense, and the prospect of even co-producing weapons systems.

He reiterated that an improvement in Israel’s relationship with Turkey will not affect his country’s cooperation with Greece, noting that the parallel channels of communication between Jerusalem and Ankara and Athens and Ankara strengthen regional stability.

EastMed pipeline

Asked about the EastMed pipeline – a project to transport natural gas from East Mediterranean gas fields to Italy and Central Europe via Greece – Cohen said it remains on the table but that its viability needs to be assessed by the business community. The foreign minister also mentioned energy cooperation with Cyprus, with which Israel is in talks for the development of regional natural gas infrastructure, which aims to transfer natural gas through Cyprus to Europe (, Greek-Israeli strategic partnership is ‘rock-solid’, July 9, 2023)

The Greek, Cyprus, and Israeli pipeline

On January 2, 2020, Greece, Cypriot and Israel signed a deal to build a 1,900 km (1,180 mile) subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean’s rapidly developing gas fields to Europe.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pose for a photo before signing a deal to build the EastMed subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe, at the Zappeion Hall in Athens, Greece, January 2, 2020.

Although Turkey opposes the project, the countries aim to reach a final investment decision by 2022 and have the pipeline completedby 2025 to help Europe diversify its energy resources.

European governments and Israel last year agreed to proceed with the so-called EastMed project, a $6 to $7 billion pipeline project that is expected initially to carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to the Greek island of Crete, on to the Greek mainland and into Europe’s gas network via Italy.

The energy ministers of Greece, Israel and Cyprus – Kostis Hatzidakis, Yuval Steinitz and Yiorgos Lakkotrypis – signed the final agreement on the pipeline at a ceremony in Athens.

In December 2019,  a Turkish official said there was no need to build the EastMed pipeline because the trans-Anatolian pipeline already existed.

(The then) Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said any project that ignored the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots over natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean would fail.

“The most economical and secure route to utilize the natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean and deliver them to consumption markets in Europe, including our country, is Turkey,” he said in a statement.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal was not turning against any country.

“It (the agreement) … supports a common aim for peace, security and stability in the particularly vulnerable region of the Eastern Mediterranean,” Anastasiades said.

The region lacks significant oil and gas infrastructure and political relations between the countries – including Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria – are strained on a number of fronts.

The signing of the EastMed pipeline comes weeks after Turkey and Libya struck an accord on sea boundaries in the Mediterranean, a move which Greece, Cyprus and Israel opposed.

Analysts say that the pact could present a barrier to the proposed pipeline which would have to cross the planned Turkey-Libya economic zone.

Israeli Turkish relationship

To say that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a contentious relationship with Israel is an understatement.  His tenureship in power over the past twenty years has mostly coincided with that of the current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Natanyahoo.

Picture of the Mavi Marmara ship

Israel was a long-time regional ally of Turkey before Erdogan came to power but ties imploded after a 2010 Israeli commando raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, part of a blockade-busting flotilla, that left dead 10 Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the ship.

Despite an official apology by Netanyahu, Erdogan went on to accuse the Jewish state of “keeping Hitler’s spirit alive” during Operation Defensive Shield in Gaza in July 2014.

Ties later saw a moderate improvement, but both countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2018 after Erdogan leveled charges of “state terrorism” and “genocide” at Israel when dozens of Palestinians were killed in Gaza rioting on May 14 of that year, the day then-US president Donald Trump controversially moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Also, in 2018, Erdogan stated the following, “Hey Netanyahu! You are an occupier. And it is as an occupier that you are on those lands. At the same time, you are a terrorist.” He added, “I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem.” To that, Natayahoo replied, “The most moral army in the world,” Netanyahu tweeted about the IDF, “will not be lectured to by someone who for years has indiscriminately bombed civilian populations. Apparently, this is the way they mark April Fools’ Day in Ankara.”(Synergia Foundation, April 2, 2018)

Facing hardening diplomatic isolation and economic woes, Erdogan began to publicly display an openness to rapprochement in December 2020. In August of last year, Israel and Turkey announced a full renewal of diplomatic ties (Times of Israel, June 23, 2023.)

The return to power of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is raising questions over the future of Turkish-Israeli rapprochement, given the tempestuous relations between Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to date.

Netanyahu’s election victory – which swept him back to power as prime minister again – comes as Turkish-Israeli relations are warming.

During Netanyahu’s previous rule, he and Erdogan routinely exchanged insults.

“I think there is an issue in this history between these two leaders, yes,” warned Gallia Lindenstrauss, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, a research organization in Tel Aviv.

“There were rhetorical battles between them,” Lindenstrauss added. “Especially after the previous normalization attempt in 2018 reached a crisis point. But both leaders are very pragmatic. They both have been in power for a long time and now this pragmatism will assist them.”

Erdogan was quick to call Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory in a conversation both sides said was cordial.

Mesut Casin, a presidential adviser at Istanbul’s Yeditepe University, says Iran provides common ground, with Erdogan sharing Netanyahu’s concerns over growing Iranian regional influence and Tehran’s nuclear energy programme.

“There has been a big transformation in relations between Turkey and Israel relations,” added Casin. “This is beneficial for both sides.

“Israel has a big headache with Iran. Especially Netanyahu who is very suspicious of Iranian nuclear weapons. According to Netanyahu, they are almost ready to have nuclear forces. Also, this is against the Turkish vital interest. This will be a collapse of the balance of power in the Middle East,” said Casin.

With Netanyahu relying on the support of political parties that some analysts describe as having hardline policies toward the Palestinians, a potential flashpoint remains.

“There is, of course, the shadow of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think we cannot ignore it,” cautioned Lindenstauss.

“Any serious deterioration on the Israeli-Palestinian front will also affect Turkish public opinion and will also affect Erdogan and his statements towards Israel.

“And we should be cautious because this is an issue that is a point of contention between the two countries,” added Lindenstrauss.

Accordingly, the relationships between  the two men have come a long way since then and there was a genuine effort between the two for rapprochement as several sources reported that the two men are planning to meet soon to discuss issues of importance to their respective countries such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are planning to meet in Ankara in July, according to a report Friday, as ties between the two countries thaw.

The talks between the two may revolve around potentially exporting natural gas from a field off Gaza to Europe via Turkey, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.

According to the sources, supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have pushed the two countries to further boost ties after a decade-long breakdown in relations.

Netanyahu said this week that Israel would work to develop the gas field, after a decade of false starts, in a move geared to boost the Palestinian Authority’s faltering economy.

Turkey has been eager to build a pipeline to deliver gas from Israel to Europe, but according to some experts, there is little Israeli interest in energy cooperation with Ankara.

Israel’s embassy in Ankara and the Turkish government declined to comment on the report.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shows the way to President Isaac Herzog during a welcome ceremony, in Ankara, Turkey, March 9, 2022

The news of the potentially imminent meeting comes amid a warming of ties between Israel and Turkey after years of animosity between the two countries’ leaders. President Isaac Herzog was hosted by Erdogan last year in Ankara — the first high-level visit since 2008 — and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met the Turkish leader in February.

Both Netanyahu and Herzog called Erdogan in May to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential elections and urged a continued improvement in ties between the two regional powers.


The countries and territories of the Eastern Mediterranean waters and with competing claims to energy reserves include Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Libya (CNBC, August 20, 2020.)

As can be seen, this list of countries have either pressing internal problems (as in the civil war in Syria and Libya), or under occupation (as in the case of Palastian), or suffering from debilitating economic conditions (as in the case of Lebanon), or have other contentious issues as in the case of Cyprus and the competing interests of Turkey and Greece in the Island.)

The list above makes it, at least in the first glance, that it is much harder to really believe that a peaceful agreement between individual members, or all members can be achieved. There is, however, hope in achieving such an outcome.

Last year Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war, officially approved a historic United States-brokered agreement laying out their maritime boundary for the first time, which opens up the possibility for both countries to conduct offshore energy exploration.


After signing the deal, the president of Lebanon, Michelle Aoun countered the Israeli claim that the deal meant that Lebanon had implicitly recognised Israel. “Demarcating the southern maritime border is technical work that has no political implications,” Aoun said.

He insisted the accord did not constitute a peace agreement and would have “no political dimensions or impacts that contradict Lebanon’s foreign policy” (Aljezzera, October 27, 2022.)

No other possible scenario is as pressing as the conflict between Greece and Turkey, which is the main focus of this article.  This writer believes that a deal is possible, if not probable, between the two rivals in the not so distant future, and this has more to do with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, than with his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who enjoys a solid backing and support from his Israeli and Cypriot allies.

This conclusion is based upon the following facts;

Mr. Erdogan is almost 70 years old, and looked increasingly frail lately.  In addition, he has been in power for more than 20 years and it is highly unlikely he would run again after his current term.  It is therefore, hard to imagine him getting into a conflict which could translate easily into diplomatic standoff or even worst

There are new sets of priorities facing Turkey now as compared with years past.  This is seen in Ankra’s reaction to some recent events.  For instance, recently hardline Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, accompanied by a large security detail to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, one of Islam’s holiest sites, drew widespread condemnation across the Muslim world.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, condemned the visit.

But Erdogan, who in the past rarely missed an opportunity to attack Israel for similar actions, remained silent on the incident.

Asli Aydintasbas of the Brookings Institution in Washington suggests Ankara’s priorities may have changed.

“The Palestinian issue is very much on the back burner in terms of the Turkish discussion. over the past few years.

“Over the past few years, various flare-ups on the Israeli-Palestinian front have barely made it to the news in Turkey.

“Traditionally, the Palestinian issue had been a litmus test for the relationship between Turkey and Israel. But I think now times are different. Turkey feels it needs Israel’s support, that it has developed a strategic relationship with Israel.

“The truth is, the Palestinian issue is no longer as critical or important or consequential for the leadership of the Turkish government at the moment.”

Erdogan’s rapprochement with Israel is part of a broader policy of improving ties in the region.

Analysts point out that many of those country’s leaders were uncomfortable with Erdogan’s strong backing of the Palestinian cause. For now, Ankara’s priorities appear to be focusing on cooperation with Israel from energy to defense.

“Turkey is, again, how can I say, eager to establish military cooperation together with Israel,” said Casin.

“I worked with Israel in the military service. We made very good agreements between Turkey and Israel.” (RFI, January 7, 2023.  Iran could make old foes Netanyahu and Erdogan the best of friends.)

If there is anything constant about Mr. Erdogan, it is his pragmatism when it comes to contentious issues especially when the stakes are pretty high.  Just last week, he granted his country’s approval, after a long denial, of Sweden’s application to be part of NATO (after Finland), a move which would clearly antagonize his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, after Sweden, according to Erdogan, addressed his concerns.

On this very topic, the BBC commented on July 16, 2023 the following; “Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a big step this week to strengthen his country’s relations with the West, in a rapid political shift in the framework of his search for solutions to the long and worsening economic crisis that his country is suffering from.

Erdogan surprised his NATO allies on Monday when he abruptly dropped his opposition to Sweden’s request to join the military alliance. Hours before his arrival in Lithuania, Erdogan denounced Sweden’s failure to do enough to stop terrorism, he said.

Erdogan’s sudden shift underscores the priority the newly re-elected president places on mending diplomatic ties with the West and reassuring foreign investors who have shied away from Turkey in recent years over its economic woes.

“It is Erdogan as we are used to it,” says Batu Coşkun, an Ankara-based political analyst with the Sadeq Institute think tank. “Without introduction, suddenly we see a shift in policy and tone.” “Any other political leader will pay the price for such turns except Erdogan. He turns it into his own gain.”

Erdogan and Biden in Vilnius, Lithuania last week

`Turkey is now looking forward to receiving F-16 fighter jets from the United States.

Erdogan says Brussels is “positive” about reviving Ankara’s long-stalled EU accession bid and moving forward with visa abolitions for Turkish nationals.

The speed in Erdogan’s change of heart is seen as a clear sign that he is taking a more constructive approach with the United States and European allies who have worried for years about the decline of democracy in Turkey.

Confidence abroad is required, but there is an urgent need at home to revive Turkey’s faltering economy. This was the biggest issue in the election, which Erdogan narrowly won in the historic second round of voting at the end of May.

That’s because inflation here is just under 40 percent, down from its peak of 85.5 percent in October 2022.

The value of the Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest levels against the US dollar this summer” (BBC Arabic, The Turkish president is turning his face towards the West because of his country’s worsening economic crisis, July 16, 2023.)

Another event occurred in June of 2016 when Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian military plane on the border with Syria. The pilot was killed as he attempted to parachute to safety.

Vladimir Putin lashed out, calling it a stab in the back and state media here echoed his furious tone. The airwaves filled with talk of treachery.

Then came the sanctions: a ban on charter flights to hugely popular Turkish resorts, restrictions on Turkish imports and for firms operating here and the introduction of visas.  This prompted the Turkish president to apologize and stated that Ankara ‘never had the desire and the intention’ to down warplanes (The Guardian, June 27, 2016.)

Currently the Turkish economy is in shambles whereas the Turkish currency has registered historic lows and the country suffers greatly from the ravages of inflation which affected a great segment of the population.  This is in addition to the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this year and the ongoing war with the separatist kurdish movement, PKK in the eastern part of the country.  These factors will most likely force Erdogan’s hand to conclude an oil and gas deal with his Greek rival as soon as possible in the hope of generating new sources of revenues.  But this requires him to be pragmatic and flexible to accept things he finds hard to accept, but he has shown many times in the past that he is good at this.

*Nadum Jwad is a freelance writers who lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada