In Ankara, Erdogan attacks Washington for trying to destroy it financially, in Athens-Nicosia-Jerusalem, governments have a headache reading the State Department's informal document on the EastMed pipeline, while Turkish media present the US policy.
For Americans it is the usual (or better business as usual) this double game played in the Eastern Mediterranean and the countries of the region. A sample of intentions for the future as they want – from what the specific movements show – to keep all the players in the region on alert, without any of them taking for granted the American support either in one direction or the other.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group, tried to blame the Americans for what was wrong with the Turkish economy. He said that “after Turkey prevented the attempted coup of July 15 with the glorious resistance of our nation, it faced the hostility of the West.”
Erdogan said that “the United States has chosen to threaten to destroy our economy without even respecting the types of nobility. Europe, on the other hand, attempted it in a more indirect way. The tacit embargo against our country has taken on another dimension. In this process we took immediate measures to strengthen our weaknesses. We have brought the means of intervention under control to a great extent “.
All possibilities open for EastMed pipeline Myrto Zambarta: There have been and still are implications in Ankara
The Turkish President acknowledged that there is also the problem of inflation in Turkey, although he argued that all developed countries are facing inflation that has increased by 5-7 times due to the epidemic. “Apart from inflation, Turkey has also struggled with the exchange rate. “Inflation growth in our country has remained lower compared to other countries,” said Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish president, however, promised to re-evaluate workers' wages in July. He also attacked the opposition, calling it the “Frankenstein Alliance”.
Erdogan's references to the opposition are not coincidental as opinion polls show him gaining ground mainly due to the economic crisis. The news website T24 (source of GTP) refers to the continuous decline of Erdogan's popularity.
Recent polls by Metropoll Research show that support for Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey for 19 years, has fallen to its lowest level since 2015 and his approval rating lags behind three potential presidential opponents. Other polls suggest that support for the alliance between the AKP and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) has been steadily declining since the 2018 parliamentary elections, when it received about 54% of the vote.
The investigations followed the Turkish Lira crisis last month. According to a survey conducted by the Center for Socio-Political Studies, 27% support the AKP and 6.3% the MHP. While the percentage of those who said they supported the AKP was 37% in 2018, the percentage of those who said they voted for the MHP four years ago was 7.3%.
According to a poll conducted two weeks ago, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is at 22.9%, the Good Party at 10.3% and the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) at 9%. , 4%.
More than 11% of respondents are undecided, according to a survey by the Center for Socio-Political Studies, while support for smaller parties has increased.
A survey by ORC Research last week found that overall support for the AKP-MHP alliance reached 38.7%, while support for the CHP and the Good Party was 39.5%. In the 2019 municipal elections, where the AKP lost control in Istanbul and Ankara, the unofficial support of the HDP in the opposition coalition was 8.4%.
According to the Metropoll poll, 36.7% of respondents said the opposition could better manage the economy, while 35.4% said the ruling parties could better manage the economy.
While Erdogan received more than 52% of the vote in the 2018 elections, the approval rating for the office in the Metropoll poll fell below 39% in December.
Headaches and joys for the future of EastMed
The changes in the government and especially in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in general the whole situation dropped the American non paper to the very low of the discussions, without this meaning that the specific approach that obviously bothers the interested parties goes unnoticed. In Athens, however, the issue continues to occupy the public debate as another negative move by Washington to the detriment of Greek and Turkish interests in the region. At the official and diplomatic level, there does not seem to be a reaction as (as we wrote in the recent past) Athens had long since begun to make second thoughts about the construction of the pipeline. A pipeline that would pass through the EEZs of the Republic of Cyprus and Greece in places where Turkey “claims its own sovereignty”. But even in Israel, where the idea of the pipeline started, it seems at the moment that there is no warm interest in its construction. And certainly the Naftali Bennett government is not in the mood to open a chapter of confrontation with Washington on this issue either.
The headaches caused by this particular non-paper result from an apparent “defeat of the three” at the diplomatic level. As agreed at the level of leaders during the last tripartite in Jerusalem, this year the studies of the project will be completed and by the end of 2022 the final decisions will be taken.
In Turkey, these developments are gratifying, as recorded in a relevant article by Milliet (source of GTP) which refers to “the end of a long struggle”. According to the article, “Athens collapsed, Nicosia was dissolved and Ankara won”.
If the goal of the Americans was to cancel the project, to satisfy Turkey and to calm the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, then this was partially achieved with regard to Cyprus. Because in relation to Greece, as Milliet presupposes, it continues: “If the project goes on the shelf, tensions will decrease in the Eastern Mediterranean, but will increase in the Aegean, as Athens's effort to increase its territorial waters to 12 miles continues at full speed “. According to Milliet, “Athens is currently trying to publish a book in which former president Prokopis Pavlopoulos sets out his legal justifications for the 12 nautical miles and distributes it around the world.”