Athens calm af­ter Turkey ref­er­en­dum

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Athens ap­peared rel­a­tively calm yes­ter­day af­ter the re­sults of Sun­day’s ref­er­en­dum in Turkey – which ex­panded the pow­ers of Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan – as the na­tion­al­ist rhetoric em­a­nat­ing from Ankara in the run-up to the vote is ex­pected to sub­side, at least in the short term.

In a neu­tral state­ment, the gov­ern­ment lim­ited it­self to say­ing that the will of the Turk­ish peo­ple must be re­spected. How­ever, Er­do­gan’s an­nounce­ment that na­tional elec­tions in Turkey will go ahead as planned in 2019 has sparked con­cern that there may be a new round of in­cen­di­ary rhetoric.

Hav­ing failed to win the sweep­ing ma­jor­ity he had hoped for in the ref­er­en­dum, there is con­cern that the Turk­ish leader will, again, try to ap­peal to the coun­try’s na­tion­al­ists, who did not give him the sup­port he hoped for in the plebiscite.

The close­ness of the re­sult is mainly at­trib­uted to the fail­ure of Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) Chair­man Devlet Bahceli to con­vince his party base to back the coun­try’s Is­lamist pres­i­dent in the ref­er­en­dum.

One thing that ap­pears not to have changed is Ankara’s stance with re­gard to Cyprus’s gas re­serves, as it has al­ready is­sued two nav­i­ga­tional telexes (nav­tex) re­serv­ing two large ar­eas south of the is­land – a large part of which be­long to Ni­cosia’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) – to con­duct re­search, as well as mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with live am­mu­ni­tion.

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