New Greek Gov. to cooperate with Turkey in energy

Greece’s financial crisis will direct the new government towards more cooperation with Turkey in energy projects and in the Cyprus talks, said Prof. Dr. Ata Atun from the Near East University.

“Greece’s new Prime Minister Tsipras does not have much practical experience in politics and if Tsipras wants to fulfill his campaign promises, his new coalition government will not survive more than three months,” said Atun.

Earlier, the 40-year-old leader of the left-wing Syriza Party took the oath of office before President Karolos Papoulias in Athens, making him the youngest Prime Minister in the country’s history.

According to Atun, Tsipras will have to orient himself into the realities of politics in Greece and in the international arena for financial reasons, and accordingly, he claimed that the relationship with Turkey in energy projects and Cyprus talks will also develop.

The financial crisis will drive the new government to utilize all opportunities to recover the country’s economy, and therefore Greece will be more cooperative in energy projects with Turkey. He said that Tsipras also may advise the Greek Cypriot administration to send east Mediterranean natural gas to Europe through Turkey.

“Greece will need every dollar it can get through its pipelines such as the potential alternative south stream route through Turkey and Greece and in pipelines like the Trans Adriatic Pipeline,” said Atun.

Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sozen, chair and vice rector at East Mediterranean University, said Tsipras’ radical campaign promises will be shaped by cold truths of realpolitik, and therefore major changes will not occur in the short term.

Sozen said that the established domestic powers in Greece will not allow major changes, but if Syriza becomes successful in solving the country’s financial problems, cooperation may be seen in the middle to long term with Turkey.

 “Greece will be more cooperative with Turkey in energy issues such as new pipelines because the country needs income-generating financial sources,” said Sozen.

‘Nicosia decides, Athens realizes’

Sozen, who is also the founding director of the Cyprus Policy Center, remarked that the Cyprus issue may not be resolved in the short term even the new government of Greece wants to solve the Cypriot issue because Greece’s established political mechanism on Cyprus is that “Nicosia decides while Athens realizes.”

According to Sozen, Greece may be cooperative in energy transportation projects with Turkey but a financially weak Greece cannot shape the Greek Cyprus’ administration’s policies to solve the Cyprus issue in the short term.

The left-wing Syriza party won 36.3 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections, with the ruling coalition gaining 27.8 percent, giving the party a projected 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament — two short of an absolute majority needed to form a single-party government.

The Turkish prime minister telephoned Greece’s newly sworn-in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to congratulate him on his party’s victory in Sunday’s elections and in the formation of a new coalition government.

(by Muhsin Baris Tiryakioglu, Anadolu Agency)