Shareholders Make a Killing: the Same old Graeco-Turkish Story

By William Mallinson
28 January 2024

The American military-congressional-industrial complex thrives on overseas arms sales and, of course, stimulating war, perhaps the most blatant current examples being the fueling of the fighting in Ukraine and current genocide in Palestine, both of great interest to shareholders. However, one of the most lucrative arms markets for the shareholders and their lobbyists in Washington has traditionally been the Greek-Turkish market.  For many years now, the shareholders of the US government and business machine have made many billions from arms sales to Greece and Turkey, operating on a 7:10 formula.

 The difference is that, paradoxically, Washington claims that by selling to both Greece and Turkey, they are managing the tension between the two NATO allies, rather than fueling war in Ukraine and the Middle East.

 Turkey has played a clever balancing game to get what it wants, first by buying the Russian S-400 system, then criticising Israel and, more vital to the US, delaying approval of Sweden’s entry to NATO, until it got its F-16s. The whole charade was preceded by Erdogan’s recent visit to Athens, where he referred to a ‘new era of peace in the Aegean’. The agreements signed were more cosmetic than substantive in nature. Cyprus was kept off the agenda, and there was no mention of Turkish territorial claims in the Aegean. Clearly, the whole show was instigated by the Washington arms lobby.

 Turkey comes out on top, with the docile Mitsotakis simply making friendly noises. Turkey has never, and is unlikely to ever, give up its claims to Greek territory. The question is simply on the back burner, and that may therefore mean a temporary small reduction in Turkish overflights of Greek territory. As for Cyprus, any talks will disguise a continuing modus vivendi (US policy), with the Turkish aim of gaining American support for recognition.

 The joker in the pack is of course Moscow: angered by Greek sanctions, will she move further towards recognition of the occupied part of Cyprus (which would actually put Washington on the spot), or will Turkey try to dance with Moscow in a dangerous tango?

 Whatever backstage pirouetting there will continue to be, one can be sure that the shareholders will be laughing all the way to the bank, and that the people of Cyprus will continue to be geopolitical fodder, with Mitsotakis more interested in same-sex marriage than showing the guts and acumen that Makarios had.

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