Syriza's electoral victory has unleashed two different types of reactions: most of the center-right or right-wing parties, politicians and mass media regard this electoral outcome as a "populist and dangerous" development. On the other hand, large sections of international public opinion, especially left-leaning thinkers have hailed Syriza's victory as a slap on the face of arrogant, neo-liberal politicians. Some have even thought that it is a prelude to a revolutionary change.Syriza does not want a revolution, nor does the Greek population. Greeks, in their immense majority are not ready for a rupture from the liberal system they are a part of. No one seriously envisages an exit of Greece from the eurozone. Syriza does not want it either, and will do everything in its power to remain within the latter.
To do so, Syriza has achieved a monstrous betrothal with a deeply Eurosceptic party ANEL, mainly founded by ex-Nea Dimokratia defectors. Alexis Tsipras's first and foremost objective is to hold high-level talks with EU leaders (and not with their underdogs, as he probably considers the Troika to be), in order to reschedule the debt payments, to alleviate the instalments and to possibly have a third of the total debt written off for good. In order to accomplish these goals, he needed a strong anti-austerity partner, who was incidentally not afraid of shaking up ties with the EU: the Independent Greeks party fits this profile nicely.
When it comes to reform of the state and economic structure, everyone (except most Greeks) agree that Greece badly needs reforming. However, as President Obama recently declared, "it is very difficult to reform when the living standard of a whole population has fallen by 25 percent." So what the Tsipras government will try to do is to renegotiate the repayment conditions for the debt and try to give the embryonic economic growth signs a boost. Merkel, who has been seen as the archnemesis J of the Greek economy by most of the public, has already declared that a new haircut for the debt was out of the question. But for the time being, that will have no direct effect on the Greek economy. Tsipras will end up having a slightly larger margin for maneuvering public spending, and he will have to wage a very fierce struggle to tax Greek fortunes at home.
So where is the revolutionary change? The junior partner of the coalition, Panos Kommenos, a stereotype of populist right-wing politician, not being afraid of declaring that "Europe is governed by German neo-Nazis," is not really the kind of revolutionary leader one expects to offer new perspectives. His first step has been to commemorate the events that occurred at the İmia/Kardak islets back in 1996, and to remember the fate of helicopter pilots who lost their lives in accidents during this sorry period. The Imia/Kardak crisis was the apex of how totally criminal and idiotic escalation could bring two NATO countries to the brink of open war. Mutual confidence has not been restored since, despite the Earthquake rapprochement.
Can Tsipras say anything that makes sense regarding Turkish/Greek institutionalized rivalry? Hardly, it seems… His best idea has been to unearth a totally naive slogan dating back to the late 70s, when the Greek Anarchists were talking about the territorial waters dispute over the Aegean, saying that "the sea belonged neither to Greeks, nor the Turks, but to the fish." It sounds extremely sympathetic, but has no tangible implementation.
Tsipras is in a straitjacket. All he will do is to try to get some breathing space from Angela Merkel in particular. He cannot afford any unexpected, flamboyant gesture toward Turkey. Back in Turkey, we have a strong, stable political movement which already has taken bold steps regarding the Kurdish issue, and with relations with Armenia. Would it be expecting too much from a stable, confident Turkish government to make a one-sided gesture towards the Aegean, perhaps by delaying all military flights for a limited duration, in order to give Tsipras a real hand? People on both sides of the Aegean would really welcome such a step by Turkey, as it would bolster its image and give Tsipras an opening, a real perspective where he can start a truly revolutionary change, meaning the normalization of Turkish-Greek relations. Dreaming is also a democratic right – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not contradict such a statement.
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