FRANCE > DYNAMIC ''RETURN'' IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Written by Stavros Karkaletsis *
Does the intense appointment of the Mediterranean dimension of France bear something good and promising for the Cyprian question? Could it be possible for Greece and Cyprus to bring about advantages from the “returning” of the French to the Eastern Mediterranean? The above questions arise from the scope of a wider pondering, about the common French-Cypriot military drill, which took place in the middle of March on the south Cypriot coast. It is by our opinion both positive and sad.
Positive because at last, even at a planning level the “defensive embargo” is lifted, in the defense-avert-weaponry chapters. For decades, semi-occupied Cyprus had no claim to the indefeasible right to defense, since behind the scenes intervention of the Anglo-Saxon and Turkish blocks, had cancelled any attempt of Nicosia to reinforce its defense. The outcome of the Russian S 300 is the best-known case. Certain previous thoughts of transfer of French fighter aircrafts (Mirage F1 CG) to Cyprus for the formation of a substandard air force also were not implemented for obviously similar reasons.
In addition, the military presence of France in Cyprus causes somber thoughts, if we remember that at the same time Greece, supposed to be a force of guarantee and a country of the same nation, is gloriously absent. Greek aircrafts and war ships have not been seen in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprian skies for many years, since the doctrine of the so called “united” between Greece – Cyprus exists only on papers.
Therefore, Nicosia is seeking –and well doing so- for strategic partners, since Athens, due to her solidified turkophobic syndrome, is afraid to respond. On the other hand, France appears extremely prompt of wanting such a part, within the context of a new amplified position that pursues in the Mediterranean, as shown by her implication in Libya.
The Chairman of the French – Cyprus Friendship Group in the French Senate Marc Massion in his recent statements in Nicosia, pointed out that the relations between Turkey and the European Union should be evaluated anew in case Ankara shows essential progress in relation to Cyprus. “In order to achieve a solution of the Cyprus affair; it is necessary for both sides to show will and decisiveness, and this will is lacking in one of the two sides” Marc Massion pointed out “hitting” explicitly the Turkish intransigence.
The Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs Averof Neophytoy speaking at the House of Representatives in Cyprus mentioned additionally that “…France traditionally has always supported the people of Cyprus in their efforts for vindication and that the real European policy is projected in the French policy”.
The dynamic “return” of French in the Mediterranean seems to consist in a profound strategic choice for Paris. And as small Cyprus is building her relationship with Israel, so she does with France by taking initiatives following particular and accurate actions. At the same time, the Greek Foreign Policy is doing exactly the opposite from what she should: instead of supporting Nicosia and becoming more multidimensional and claiming, Athens is gloriously absent.
The geostrategic heft of the Eastern Mediterranean is not only increasing most rapidly but even in energy. New horizons and opportunities are opened for new strategic choices. Nicosia demonstrates political boldness, while Athens remains in a political standstill…
* Historian - Defense Analyst, HEL.C.E.I.A' s President