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Nationalistic fervor rising in Greece, Turkey

It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between rhetoric and reality in the deteriorating relationship between Greece and Turkey.

Two Greek soldiers tracking footprints on the Turkish-Greek border crossed into Turkey on March 1. Greece insists that the young soldiers had accidentally strayed into a Turkish military zone due to heavy snowfall that had impaired their vision. Turkey, however, arrested the pair on espionage charges.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza government are taking a somewhat subdued approach to the issue of the soldiers, agreeing in an internal Cabinet meeting that Turkey, a NATO ally, would “sooner or later” drop the issue instead of exploiting it further. Athens, and the European Union by extension, is not interested in escalating tensions with Turkey beyond rhetoric.

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