& nbsp & nbspInterview in Foreign Turkey & nbsp; & nbsp;
At the heart of his book “Turkish Imperialism and Prevention”, Professor Vassilis Fouskas deals with a historical and political analysis of the political and economic formation of the Greek state and through comparison with Turkey tries to explain chronic weaknesses and problems responsible for the current impasses in Greece and consequently in Cyprus. In recent years, Turkish threats against the two countries have multiplied. And the question that reasonably arises is whether there is a way for the two countries to stand tall and pursue a dynamic policy towards a country that is increasingly pushing them into the corner. & Nbsp;
Turkey is now a regional power, says the Greek professor, and this is primarily due to its economic strength. The Turkish economy is growing steadily despite any problems, such as the current monetary crisis and inflationary pressures. The country's economic scope allows it to intervene in a series of conflicts abroad, to participate in NATO missions and to redeem its international presence by promoting its positions and interests, without counting its opponents. He is a big player in the world, a fact that does not leave much room in Athens and Nicosia, which are trapped in their impasses. Creating a deterrent policy is not an easy task, Vassilis Fouskas emphasizes, and this does not only concern the defense or the military sector. We must look at the issue of deterrence as a whole as a multidimensional system that includes the economy, society, culture.
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Inevitably, the debate also turned to developments on the Ukrainian front, which is becoming a plague on Europe. Vassilis Fouskas predicts that the conflict is evolving into a kind of constant low-intensity war, which favors Vladimir Putin, because on the one hand it will sow inflation in the West with the sanctions imposed on Moscow, while on the other hand it seems that it will achieves its goal of Ukraine not joining NATO and the European Union. However, if the Russian president achieves his goals in Ukraine, this will not be a good mandate for the Turkish president. “If Vladimir Putin wins in Ukraine, it does not favor Turkey, because while it will continue to work closely with Russia, it will also be more subservient to it,” he said, adding that a confrontation between the two countries was not an unlikely scenario. .
-Let's start with the title of your book. What are the elements that make us talk about Turkish imperialism today?
-Schematically, I would say that the data are four. The first concerns the large capital accumulation in Turkey in the last 20 years that has allowed it to become a major exporting power by participating in and benefiting from globalization. The second has to do with the export of power from Turkey, something that goes back to 1974 and the invasion of Cyprus. Our neighboring country today, apart from NATO missions, has armies in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Qatar. As a member of NATO he participates almost everywhere. In Afghanistan it is the ruling power. A third element is the “neo-Ottoman” ideology. Ahmet Davutoglu had said: “Turkey has no political borders, only geopolitical ones”, implying the Sunni-Turkish minorities outside the Turkish borders. There is, however, a fourth factor, and that has to do with the relative US withdrawal from the wider Middle East and the rise of Asian powers such as China and Russia, and this offers Turkey room to assert its national interests. throughout the former Ottoman Empire.
has developed to a much greater extent than Greece, despite the fact that Greece is a member of a strong economic organization such as the European Union. Why did this happen?
– Greece, as I explain in the book, has not historically been able to develop economies of scale. The productive backbone of Greek capitalism is small and medium-sized enterprises, small and medium-sized industrial units without large export potential. Within the EEC/EU and, later, within the eurozone, Greek companies have completely lost their competitiveness. This has resulted in a huge increase in the current account deficit and the consequent debt crisis. In this respect, the European Union and the Eurozone did not benefit Greece. Turkey, on the other hand, has seen tremendous growth. Then, do not forget, this is a country of 83 million people.
-What are the consequences of this superiority?
Export of capital and export of power, ie imperialism, whose ideological background is “neo-Ottomanism”. Thus, it can and does challenge the sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean and Thrace but also of Cyprus. Turkey's tendency for geopolitical expansion abroad is structural but also historical, it does not concern the Erdogan regime. We will see the same and maybe worse without the current Turkish president. With imperialism, at the same time, any internal wounds (regime crises, Kurdish, monetary crises, etc.) are temporarily healed.
-What mistakes do you see made over time and which led to the weakening of Greece but and Cyprus today?
– I would not talk only about “mistakes”. I would also talk about structural restrictions on the action of the political elites, restrictions that at times prevented them from making decisions based on the national and popular interest. Take for example the Cyprus issue. At least from 1957 until the coup against Makarios in 1974, all the political elites of Greece, with a few exceptions, had accepted the NATO program of the Republic of Cyprus, ie the decapitation of the island between Turkey and Greece. I also remind you of the relevant secret protocol between Karamanlis and Menderes in 1960. Costas Karamanlis always argued that Greece's relations with Turkey are more important than the relations between Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. Unfortunately, this is the historical reality. Makarios was alone against everyone: British, Americans, Turks, Turkish Cypriot nationalists, Greek Cypriots but also Greek nationalists and Greek governments. & Nbsp;
-What should Greece and Cyprus do to to establish a credible deterrent policy against Turkish aggression?
-The first thing that needs to be done is the acquisition of freedom of movement and action in the face of structural constraints and the dependence imposed on Greece by large borrowing, the huge debt. There is a need to change the production model of the country with emphasis on industrial and agricultural production, as well as the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the legal EEZ of the two countries. Greece and the Republic of Cyprus must proceed to the joint formation of an EEZ with the participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in the research and consortia. A careful import substitution must also begin to stimulate the domestic industrial sector. The country must get out of the suffocating shackles of post-capital, where the root of dependence and huge debt lies. Still, a huge cultural attack is urgent in the Balkans, the Middle East and Turkish society, especially in the occupied territories.
People can and should be friends, the problem is with the bourgeois states. Greece is the weak side, has a very weak bourgeoisie and succumbs to external pressures, which favor Turkey's interests, because since 1950 it has been considered strategically more valuable to the US and NATO. Thus, Greece's policy towards Turkey is permanently submissive. For this reason, the Greek bourgeoisie and its state can not apply the defensive part of the deterrent, which I draw from the view of Panagiotis Kondylis for a “first decisive mass blow”, which will be extinguished for a long time. space the opponent.
My proposal, moreover, makes sense when it is based on policies to strengthen unity between the army, the people and the political leadership. This is the key, because the Greek governments with their neo-liberal/neo-conservative policies have shaken this unity. These policies have crippled the health sector and day laborers are day laborers. The deterrence and the unified defense doctrine of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus can only be implemented by a Greek government, which has solid democratic principles and a pro-people program. If it does not exist, this political subject will have to be invented.
Ankara will not collapse financially
-Turkey is collapsing economy, as it is often called, or is it a misreading?
– There is no question of the collapse of the Turkish economy. There is a monetary crisis and inflationary pressures. Inflationary pressures are everywhere. The monetary crisis is only one indicator. Economic growth is not just an indicator, it has to do with capital accumulation and business profitability. There is, of course, a conflict within the country's bourgeoisie.
A portion of capital, the most aggressive and neo-liberal borrowing in foreign currency, is pursuing a policy of high interest rates in order to crack down on inflation. Another faction, backed by Tayyip Erdogan and borrowing in Turkish pounds, opposes interest rate hikes, including the neo-Islamic bourgeoisie. Here is the essence of understanding the struggle that takes place within the bourgeois power complex of the country. It is not a collapse, it is a struggle within the deep state which, however, can and does act as a “collective capitalist” (the phrase belongs to Marx). & Nbsp;
The strengthening is urgent and & nbsp; not the undermining of the KD
– You argue that the prevention does not only concern the military part but also the economy, the culture. Can you analyze your reasoning for us?
– The deterrence must be ruthless and hybrid in nature, otherwise it will not be a deterrent, but a business activity for the benefit of the major defense-industrial complexes of the West and at the expense of the security of Cyprus and Greece. To put it another way, prevention should be the grafting of a series of activities in the field of economic, defense and cultural diplomacy that make all the major actors in the system (USA, Germany, Russia, China, India) work in its interests. Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.
Let me even say the following about Cyprus. It no longer makes sense to discuss a “bi-zonal-bi-communal federation with political equality” if such a discussion ever made sense. Turkey wants the same thing from the 1950s until today, control of all of Cyprus. The real cause of war for Turkey is not the declaration of 12 nautical miles in the Aegean, but the union of free zones with Greece. This is the quintessence of the Turkish strategy and thus the above formula for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is declassified. & Nbsp;
– With Turkey becoming more and more powerful, how can Cyprus claim something? better?
-The Republic of Cyprus has a future the more it is strengthened politically, defensively, culturally and socially. Its strengthening is urgent and not its undermining. Unfortunately, the above formula, which has been adopted by Greece and the UN, undermines the strengthening of Cyprus in the direction I propose. However, I would like to remind you that the same happened in the period 1960-1974, with all the Greek governments undermining the work of Makarios, which was the strengthening of the democratic institutions of the Republic of Cyprus against the Greek obscurantism (parastate, role of the CIA, etc.) . Makarios's line was and remains insurmountable and leading, it is a line of real democratic equality between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and even those who undermine it today in Greece and Cyprus will have to face it.
Putin and Erdogan have the same vision
– The publication of your book coincided with the Russian invasion. You are a good connoisseur of the Russian political scene. How do you think the war in Ukraine will develop? How will it end and who are the losers and the winners?
– We can not predict the future. But we can make some assumptions and speculate. What I see, and in the event that the US does not accept an agreement under which Ukraine will remain permanently out of NATO, is that we will have a kind of ongoing low-intensity war, which favors Vladimir Putin, because on the one hand it will It is sowing inflation in the West with Western sanctions on Russian gas, oil and rare earths, and on the other hand it will achieve its goal, which is Ukraine's non-accession to NATO and the EU. A country can not become a member, especially of NATO, if it has indefinite borders. & Nbsp;
– Vladimir Putin's revision is similar to Turkey in the sense that it wants to integrate all the Russian minorities that were left out of the Russian state after the fall of the USSR into a new Russia. The Turkey of neo-Ottomanism has the same vision, but I do not think that this ideology is legitimized among the Turkish people, so it will fail. In the case of Putin, I'm not sure. The geopolitical nationalism of the Russian president and the leadership around him is much stronger than that presented by the Western media.
-If the war in Ukraine develops as the Russian president wants, it will do we see Tayyip Erdogan and other leaders being encouraged and possibly pursuing a similar policy?
-No. If Vladimir Putin “wins” in Ukraine, it does not favor Turkey, because while it will continue to work closely with Russia, at the same time it will be more subservient to it. Putin's victory in Ukraine in the terms I described above may mean a change in the balance of power between Turkey and Russia in the Caucasus, Syria and Libya, for example, not to mention the Black Sea and Central Asia or the Kurds. In such a context, Turkey-Russia frictions are possible, because the US and Germany are not going to let things go that way, ie a Turkey-client of Russia and China. Maybe in the future we will experience a conflict between the West and Russia, this time not for Ukraine but for who will win Turkey, control of the straits and pipelines, etc. This is where it will be put on the table – think Kurdish – the partition of Turkey, which I avoid, because it means not only the involvement of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, but another great drama of the peoples. Let me also emphasize that what emerges historically and what the book emphasizes is that whenever there are problems between Turkey and Russia, Greece is favored. & Nbsp;