Saturday, December 9, 2017

Turkey v. Greece, Round 2017

Turkish President Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Tsipras


Flash!  Greek and Turkish leaders clash.

So what else is new?  Quite a bit actually.

On Thursday, President Erdogan of Turkey traveled to Athens, to meet with Greece’s heads of state, namely its President Pavlopouos (a largely ceremonial position) and Prime Minister Tsipras (head of its ruling coalition).  The event was billed as an opportunity for improving relations between the two long-time antagonists, but according to the press coverage I’ve seen, a hoped for kumbaya moment never occurred.

Presidents Erdogan and Pavlopoulos

No Turkish President had visited Greece in 65 years, yet what seemed to occupy Erdogan’s mind on this historic occasion was not the future, but an obsession with the past, 1923 to be precise. I’m talking about the Treaty of Lausanne, signed by Turkey, Greece, Great Britain, Japan, and Italy. That treaty carved the borders of modern day Turkey out of the now defunct Ottoman Empire, which had backed the losing side in World War I.

Please take note that I’m referring to a 94-year-old treaty, and not the 2015 Lausanne Accord establishing the framework for the Iran Nuclear deal, though the resentment by some to the latter seems to match Turkey’s attitude toward the former.

This was not the first time Erdogan had expressed his desire to redraw the Treaty’s borders, and I can assure you not with the intention of expanding Greece’s land mass.  Yet, to have made such an aggressive, face-to-face public demand upon Greece’s heads of state in their nation’s capital demonstrates what the French would call chutzpah.

But then again, why wouldn’t he?   Tough guys are all the rage in international diplomacy these days. And they’re getting what they want.  Just look around Erdogan’s neighborhood.

Russia annexed the Crimea and moved into Ukraine (yeah, I know, they’re not “really” in the Ukraine, Pollyanna), and what happened?  They’re still there.  Syria’s leader did whatever he damn well pleased to his people, and where’s he? Don’t ask, but while on that subject, where’s its benefactor Iran?—Answer: creating a corridor from its western border straight through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean, while battling Saudi Arabia via Yemen. 

Then there’s Africa and Asia. Tough guys getting rid of those they dislike (e.g., Myanmar). All following the same formula: offer PR justification, maintain the lie, and do as you please, because there’s no one to stop you.

The world today seems like a classroom full of very bad delinquents, freely bullying their classmates, because the teacher has left the building.

And, oh yes, let’s not forget China, subtly expanding its influence far beyond its Asia region.

Face it folks, the world today is a shopping cart for tough guys, because the EU is struggling to survive, and the US is retreating to within its borders.

This is not a good time for the weak, or the principled.  Beware.


Jeff’s Upcoming Events

My ninth Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis novel, AN AEGEAN APRIL, publishes on January 2, 2018 and here is the first stage of my book tour:

Thursday, January 4 @ 7PM
Poisoned Pen Bookstore,
Scottsdale, AZ (joint appearance with Thomas Perry)

Saturday, January 6 @ 2 PM            
Clues Unlimited
Tucson, AZ

Monday, January 8  @ 7PM
Vromans (on Colorado)
Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, January 10 @ 7PM                   
Tattered Cover (on Colfax)
Denver, CO

Saturday, January 13 @ 2 PM                      
Book Carnival 
Orange, CA

Sunday, January 14 @ 2 PM
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA

Wednesday, January 17 @ 7 PM      
Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park)
Seattle, WA

Thursday, January 18 @ 7 PM
Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Readers Literary Salon
Berkeley, CA

Sunday, January 21 @ 7 PM
Book Passage
Corte Madera, CA

Thursday, January 25 @ 7 PM
Mysterious Bookshop
New York, NY

Friday, February 2 @ 7PM
Centuries & Sleuths (Forest Park)
Chicago, IL

Saturday, February 3 @ 12 PM
Once Upon A Crime
Minneapolis, MN


  1. I must be strong and unprincipled, because I'm having a good time. But then, I'm ignoring the fake news, and have mostly retreated within the walls of my house. I'm a firm believer in the old adage "outlive the bastards." This, too, shall pass.

  2. Interesting approach EvKa, one many I'm certain share. The only trouble is, aren't you finding there seem to be a lot more bastards around to outlive these days?

  3. As ugly as things seem, the world is actually in much better shape than it ever has before. The news makes it SEEM like it's the end of the world, and there are always "ups and downs," but there are a LOT of things to give one hope for an even brighter future than we've ever known. I'm an incurable optimist. There are things that can be done to help ensure that brighter future arrives, but the best thing we can do is stay focused on the positive and not the negative. Be aware, but don't dwell, in other words.

  4. I want some of what you're drinking.

    1. I thought you only drank milk from virgin goats raised on the slopes of Mt. Athos and fermented by 100+ year old monks...

  5. Females are forbidden on Mt. Athos, so try the nectar and ambrosia on Olympus.

  6. Oh, yow, I wish I could be optimistic as I worry about troops going abroad and bombs dropping, including the big one. I have to try to ignore some of the news, although I can't ignore this bloody tax scam bill. That's unavoidable if one cares about medical coverage and social services, including for children.
    So, not much optimism here unless people get out there and do what they need to do.