Mystery Behind the Ambassador

15 Aralık 2023 Cuma

"Our era prefers the sign rather than the signified, the fake rather than the real, the illusion rather than the reality, the appearance rather than the essence... Because nowadays illusion is considered sacred and truth is blasphemy."

Nearly two centuries ago, German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach made a statement that still resonates today.

Consider a recent headline: "New Chapter in Turkey-Greece Relations!" This chapter supposedly highlights a significant development: the easing of visa requirements for Turkish citizens visiting 10 Aegean islands.

But this is an old story, overshadowed by past issues.

The key question regarding PresidentErdogan's visit to Athens was blunt: "What did Turkey offer to receive visa facilitation?"

In search of an answer, we looked to Prime Minister Mitsotakis. He pinpointed the core issue: "Our only disagreement is determining the borders of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean."

This is what President Erdogan says regarding this matter: "The tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean affect Turkey and Greece, the most important countries of the region, negatively. For this reason, we need to calculate and strive for what kind of opportunities we can get from here, and what kind of opportunities we can create for the benefit of our countries. I can say that Mr. Mitsotakis has a positive approach to this issue. We hope that we will deal with the glass half full and not the glass half empty."

To summarize, the conflict over the Eastern Mediterranean has evolved into a debate. And it is as if there is a whole other problem lying under what is being said. I am trying my hardest to figure out what that is.


President Erdogan's recent visit to Greece included the Turkish Ambassador to Athens, Cagatay Erciyes. Before this pivotal role, Erciyes served as the Director General for Bilateral Political Affairs and Maritime-Aviation-Border at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for five years. His appointment as the Turkish representative in Athens on February 1, 2023, was a significant move.

Why you ask?

Cagatay Erciyes is no ordinary diplomat. Rather than offering my own perspective, let's turn to what the partisan press has to say...

The article titled "The Ambassador Could Not Tolerate the Blue Homeland," published in Yeni Safak on February 23, 2020, focused on a significant incident involving Ambassador Cagatay Erciyes. At a Washington meeting discussing Eastern Mediterranean energy issues, Erciyes stirred controversy. He seemingly distanced himself from Turkey's stance by not defending the exclusive economic zone agreement with Libya, saying, "I can't call it a Turkish claim because I represent Turkey."

This leads us to a crucial question:

What were Greece's demands in the Eastern Mediterranean conflict?

Primarily, they sought the cancellation of the Turkey-Libya agreements and the removal of Turkish presence in the State of Libya.

Now, let's consider the context of the Libyan agreements. These were grounded in the "Blue Homeland" doctrine, encompassing Turkey's maritime jurisdiction areas, totaling 462,000 square kilometers. These areas were either declared or anticipated, in line with Turkey's rights under international law. Essentially, the Blue Homeland represented Turkey's maritime equivalent of the Misakı Milli.

The "Memorandum of Understanding on the Delimitation of Maritime Jurisdiction Areas" between Turkey and Libya encapsulated this concept.

Cem Gurdeniz and Cihat Yaycı, architects of the Blue Homeland idea, have been promoting it through books and maps for years. Subsequently, Turkish foreign policy embraced this doctrine, emphasizing active and military power in maritime jurisdictions.

However, a notable shift seems to be emerging.

The appointment of Cagatay Erciyes, a diplomat whose views align more closely with Greece regarding the Blue Homeland, as ambassador to Athens, marks a potential change in direction. President Erdogan's "new" approach to Athens appears to be a continuation of this shift.

This development leads us to a pressing question for the future: Did we unexpectedly compromise on the Blue Homeland during our diplomatic engagement with Greece?

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