Turkish President Erdogan is methodically scaring the Greeks with war and attacks in the Aegean Sea.

His threats are having an effect in Greece, but is it more than campaign rhetoric?

Analysis of Deutsche Welle.

"Will Erdogan go to war with us?"

- this is the main topic with which the Greek media keeps the public in suspense.

The question is heard daily in almost all current affairs shows in the background of thriller music.

But the subject sells well not only from a media perspective.

Dramatic fear-mongering helps the Greek government issue warnings of "national danger" instead of dealing with unpleasant things like the wiretapping scandal of one of the Greek political leaders or high inflation. Beyond the media exaggerations and political instrumentalization of the issue, however, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is indeed making increasingly threatening statements.

"Hey Greeks! Look at history. If you keep going like this, you will pay a very high price," he repeated repeatedly in recent weeks.

Cavusoglu: Turkey will increase its military presence in Northern Cyprus

Erdogan wants to recall the year 1922, when the founder of the Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, defeated the Greek army and expelled the population of Greece from Asia Minor.

One hundred years after the "disaster in Asia Minor", as the Greeks call the defeat, the Turkish president is threatening to repeat it.

"We may come suddenly some night," he warned.

Can Erdogan afford this war?

How serious is all this?

Is the Turkish president really planning to send his fighter jets and attack the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean, as he has repeatedly threatened?


These issues will also be on the agenda at the upcoming European Political Community summit on October 6 and 7 in Prague, which Erdogan is expected to attend.

This is a new format of the EU, in which the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey will participate.

They will also talk about whether and how the EU and Turkey can get closer again in the context of the war against Ukraine.

Resolving the growing tensions between Greece and Turkey will be crucial.

Turkish politician threatens to "push the Greeks off the islands into the sea"

According to most observers, Erdogan's rhetoric may sound bellicose, but it is unlikely to be followed by action.

Because the Turkish president simply cannot afford a war against Greece, which is a member of the EU and NATO.

There are many reasons.

On the one hand, Erdogan's chances of winning such a war are more than uncertain.

On the other hand, he must be aware that NATO and especially the US would never allow military aggression by Turkey against Greece - NATO cannot afford weakness by allowing a military conflict between member countries of the Alliance during the war in Ukraine.

And the American military bases on the island of Crete and in Alexandroupolis in Eastern Greece are extremely important - both for the military supply of NATO troops in Eastern Europe and for military aid to Ukraine.

"Controlled Tension" Policy

However, the so-called

a hot episode in the Aegean is not completely ruled out.

After the failed military coup attempt in 2016, Erdogan pursued a policy of "controlled tension" towards Athens.

Sometimes with sharper, sometimes with more restrained rhetoric.

Turkey will hold parliamentary and presidential elections in the middle of next year, which is why Erdogan's language is particularly threatening right now.

He seems to want to appeal to his voters on the nationalist spectrum.

Erdogan complained that Greece was playing "dangerous games" in the region because of the buildup of military forces on some Greek islands.

He promises that "if necessary, all available means will be used to protect the rights of the Turkish people."

The Greek Prime Minister addressed the Turkish people: We are not enemies

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis demonstratively tries to keep his cool.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, he addressed Turkey with the words: "I want to tell you that Greece is not a threat to your country. We are not enemies. We are neighbors."

Meeting in Prague?

So far, Erdoğan has shown no readiness for dialogue with Mitsotakis.

But Ibrahim Kalin, the Turkish president's most important adviser, did not rule out the possibility of contact between Erdogan and Mitsotakis at the Prague summit.

However, Mitsotakis himself is not particularly interested in a dialogue with Erdogan.

It is important for him to appear a good and reliable partner internationally, but he knows that his conservative New Democracy party and most of its voters are rather against negotiations on the Greek-Turkish dispute.

Recep Erdogan: I won't meet with Kyriakos Mitsotakis until he straightens up

Nationalism is a problem not only in Turkey, but also in Greece, where parliamentary elections are also coming up next year.

Recep Erdogan