Erdogan mobilizes his nationalist electorate by threatening Greece with an attack without warning

For a while, it looked like Turkish President RT Erdogan was trying to redeem his virginity vis-à-vis his NATO partners and the United States after Russia attacked Ukraine. Initially firm with Moscow, Ankara notably supported Ukrainian defense by delivering TB2 Bayraktar drones, which quickly became one of the symbols of the country's resistance, and by closing the straits leading to the Black Sea in order to prevent the Russian Navy from transfer ships there. At the same time, Turkey was pressuring Washington and the White House to authorize the acquisition of new F-16 fighters and modernization kits for its own aircraft, as well as to be able to acquire turbines again. helicopters for its own industry. Subsequently, when Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO, the Turkish president vetoed, officially to bring Stockholm and Helsinki to harden their positions against the Kurdish militants who have taken refuge in these countries, but also to bring Washington to give in on the question of armaments.

Unfortunately for the Turkish leader, thehe US Congress seems not to be inclined to give in quickly on the subject, while at the same time, the latter faces with his party a significant drop in the polls just a few months before the next legislative and presidential elections in the country. Unable to turn against the Kurdish enemy in Syrian territory as he had previously announced, while Russia is already at knifepoint with the West, it seems that RT Erdogan has decided to relaunch a dynamic of tension with the neighbor Greece, first by breaking off bilateral discussions in May, then by announcing the resumption of mining exploration in the Aegean Sea, and by multiplying aerial incursions into the aerial identification zone under Greek control, while accusing Athens of provocation by making intervene its fighter and its anti-aircraft defense. The latest argument to date, the Turkish authorities have denounced the remilitarization of the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea bordering its coasts, such as the island of Lesbos, and President Erdogan of directly threatening Athens with a possible military attack without warning in retaliation, using strong nationalist symbol for this, notably the battle of Izmir which saw a Turkish victory over the Greek forces in 1922.

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Down in the polls and a few months before a national election deadline, President Erdogan turns to his nationalist electorate by reigniting tensions with Athens

It must be said that the presidential and legislative elections of 2023 are looking bad for President Erdogan and his AKP party. Given more than 45% in the polls in mid-2021, the party has fallen between 30 and 35% of voting intentions today, having notably lost a large part of the membership of Turkish youth. At the same time, the main Kemalist opposition party, the CHP, passed the 30% vote intention, having even surpassed the AKP temporarily in April, before Erdogan revived tensions with Athens. Unable to boast either of a great symbolic victory within the framework of NATO, or of having made Washington bend over the F-16s, it is necessary for the Turkish president to rely on his nationalist electorate to try to reverse the trend, while inflation in the country remains galloping, having exceeded the 80% mark in August, and unemployment remains very high, especially for young people above 20%.

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