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Is Greece Turkey’s new site of confrontation with the West?

Turkey may escalate the tension with its NATO neighbor in a move to display its displeasure over NATO's — namely Washington's — stance on Syrian Kurdish groups.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas - RC1BFA6480B0

ATHENS, Greece — Arriving in Athens this month, I never thought I would find myself in an atmosphere reminiscent of the troubled 1980s. At that time, I was a frequent visitor to Greece and I followed the country's elections, when Greek politicians were riding anti-Turkey sentiments among the public for political gain.

The sources of conflict between the two NATO neighbors were numerous: the delineation of the Aegean Sea continental shelf; the delimitation of territorial waters; an airspace dispute; minority rights; and, above all, the Cyprus issue. Turkey and Greece had come to the brink of war in 1996 over several islets off the Aegean coast. Both sides claimed dominion over the islets. The administration of President Bill Clinton averted a possible war with the skillful diplomacy of now-deceased diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

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