Greece between Scylla and Charybdis

Ω Dimitris Christou

Greece is sailing between Scylla and Charybdis. Between Turkey's aggression to revise international law defining land and sea borders and the resurgence of a pandemic that threatens the country's economy with bankruptcy. The government is moving day by day and seems to care more about managing the communication of these two serious threats in order to reduce political costs as much as possible. But two dangers of this magnitude cannot be tackled with smoke and mirrors.

Erdogan, who has the initiative of the moves, with Greece on the defensive, made moves on many boards with the confidence of a great player. He is trying, if has not already managed to become, the overseer of a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean after the agreement with Libya, while he has secured important agreements on military and economic cooperation in the Balkans with Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria.

His goal is to force Greece to sit at the same table for negotiations on all matters. European observers, while seemingly pressing Erdogan to stop provoking, agree that Greece and Turkey should start a dialogue, which has always been Ankara's goal. But a dialogue, with what agenda? So the Greek-Turkish dialogue for a new agreement from scratch, which according to the Turkish president is, a fifty-fifty sharing of the Aegean?

Germany and France are Greece's partners in the EU, but who are they really pressuring?
Government propaganda highlighted the support of the French president towards Greece and his initiative to hold joint military exercises in the Mediterranean. Few learned of the words of Macron, who welcoming the German initiative to organize a Greek-Turkish dialogue, said: "It is important to resolve the current differences. It is a need, for a deeper dialogue between Greece and Turkey ". How deep can this dialogue be?

The plan for a dialogue

What lesson have we learned? Did Turkey drop the tone after the wishful thinking and the German-French recommendations? Speaking at an event marking the 19th anniversary of his party on Thursday afternoon, August 12, Erdogan said in an aside to his speech: "And today we said do not attack Oruc Reis, otherwise you will pay a heavy price. And they got the first answer."

What was the answer that Greece got? The attempt of a Turkish warship escorting the Oruc Reis to ram a Greek frigate, had happened the day before, on Wednesday. This is probably what we are talking about and we have a reversal of the truth for propaganda purposes from the Turkish president, given that the frigate "Lemnos" immediately took part in the Greek-French air and naval exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean.

All things point to the fact that the plan for a dialogue between the two sides with a German referee is accelerating. That was Erdogan's goal, but not ours. But how will the Greek side manage to accept a dialogue from scratch and a demand for a 50-50 division of the Aegean? It is possible, if the "protectors-managers" of the crisis manage to reach an agreement that will not highlight Greek concessions. Is that the goal?

Scylla bites hard…

And say that we are getting rid of Charybdis. What happens next with Scylla? What about the ubiquitous raging covid-19 that has paralyzed economic activity around the world? How will Greece successfully deal with it with such a vulnerable economy and a huge national debt. How will it be able to meet the inelastic costs of salaries, pensions, unemployment benefits and a strengthened National Health System?

Already in the first seven months of the year the primary budget deviation is 9.36 billion. If at the end of the year it develops at the same rate, with what funds will these gaps close, while recession is raging and paralyzing all economic activity, and shrinking tax revenue?

How realistic will the nightmarish neoliberal experiment they ordered from Professor Pissaridis to privatize almost all public services, even part of the pension scheme, then be?

Where will the government's eager friends and sponsors find customers when disposable household incomes have shrunk to the brink of poverty? I am very afraid that even if we escape Charybdis with small losses, we will hardly be able to withstand the confrontation with Scylla, if those who rule continue to look at the tree, ignoring the forest ...

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