Tsipras aspires to win Nobel Prize
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is considered as a possible candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps paired with his Macedonian colleague Zoran Zaev. Such an idea arose after the parties managed to resolve the Macedonia naming dispute - the former Yugoslav Republic. It was the name that prevented the Balkan state from joining NATO, since it coincided with the name of the Greek historical province, which caused some conflict.
Last summer, Tsipras and Zaev held a cycle of negotiations, and the Greek side agreed that the former Yugoslav Republic would be called North Macedonia. In January 2019, the parliaments of both countries approved the amendment. After which NATO member countries signed the Accession Protocol with North Macedonia. "I look forward to the day when 30 flags will fly outside NATO headquarters," the Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. Now all 29 member states of the North Atlantic Alliance should ratify the Accession Protocol with North Macedonia, and before it Skopje will continue to be the alliance aspiring member.
The perspective of joining the ranks of "great peacemakers" has become more tangible after Tsipras held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Perhaps, it was the first time when the leaders of the two countries having a complicated relationship made a strong statement about their desire to resolve bilateral problems, which had soured interstate relations for many years. Athens and Ankara announced their decision to address the main problems - Cyprus dispute and Aegean dispute.
Another problem is that Greece granted political asylum to eight Turkish soldiers who fled after a failed coup attempt in 2016. Erdogan said at the meeting that he hopes for more constructive cooperation with Greece on this issue. In other words, the Turkish leader would like to watch violators of the oath on trial. However, according to analysts, words may not match with deeds in this case - a much more serious matter than punishing eight ordinary executors of outside will is at stake, therefore the Turkish leader was obliged to fix his position, which he did, but he will not derail the normalization of bilateral relations. Especially if something happens, Tsipras can lodge a counterclaim - almost 50 thousand illegal migrants have moved to Greece from Turkey.
According to most analysts, if the parties continue the straightforward, honest conversation staying cool, without emotions, then a positive breakthrough between Athens and Ankara is possible. And then Tsipras’s claim to the Nobel Prize will be pretty weighty. Especially considering the current global situation, when many decided to use the language of ultimatums and blackmail, pressure and threats.
However, Alexis Tsipras' actions in the Macedonian direction are regarded in Greece as extremely contradictory. It is significant that in the parliament ratified the Prespa Agreement on the Balkan state's name with 153 votes against 146. Obviously, in the absence of consensus between the government and society on renaming of the neighboring state, the number of problems only increases, instead of being resolved, political scientist Konstantinos Andronikou writes. The crisis is about to flare up in parliament, deputies change one faction for another, the ruling party attempts to find a common language with opponents as soon as possible, the two key ministers - the heads of defense and foreign affairs ministries - recently resigned. Protest sentiments are fueled by the Republic of Northern Macedonia, which interests in integration processes with the West were promoted by Tsipras. Accoridng to Konstantinos, it looks like Zoran Zayev specifically avoids his homeland's new name and deliberately mentions its former name - Macedonia "in every public appearance, in every post on Twitter". With such a "prudent" approach of Skopje, Greek society will become increasingly angry with the situation. According to the analyst, Greece's actions can add its own contradictions to tension with those European countries, which have their own views on the name of the former Yugoslav republic - these are Serbia, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Philosophy professor and international journalist Dimitrios Liatsos said that the possibility of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Alexis Tsipras is questionable. According to him, at least half of Greek society did not approve the ratification of the Prespa Agreement by the Parliament. "Not because they don’t want to resolve the issue, but because the wrong tools were used at the talks. Many find it inconvenient to admit it and stand on a par with our nationalists, but PM Tsipras himself said that it’s impossible to consider all who opposed this decision as nationalists. The solution to this complex issue had to be sought when Yugoslavia collapsed, but Tsipras’ predecessors didn’t undertake it, although everyone understood that the "spice" was in the name of the state," Dimitrios Liatsos told Vestnik Kavkaza.
According to him, another nuance that confuses Greek society is that the so-called 'Macedonian issue' was not on the political agenda of Alexis Tsipras and his party. "They offered the population something completely different during the election period. Why did the Macedonian issue' become dominant on their agenda once they came to power? Because it was an initiative of the U.S, not of Skopje or Athens. Washington had to quickly solve the problem with Macedonia's name and quickly integrate it into NATO. We know that the U.S. also put pressure on Skopje - its ambassador did not leave the parliament controlling the situation. And the U.S. succeed. If we proceed from NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg's statements, then essentially Macedonia already joined NATO. Where did Tsipras' promise to resist the pressure of the West - the U.S. and the EU - go? It turns out to be the opposite - he is increasingly losing ground," Liatsos said.
According to the respondent, as a Greek, he should be proud of the fact that his country's leader is claiming the Nobel Peace Prize. "However, the wording is embarrassing - for solving the problem peacefully. Was the war between Greece and Macedonia possible? Not at all, if only because of the incompatibility of military power. Neither we, nor they would do it. Another factor - I think that the Nobel Prize should be awarded to people who have provided some kind of breakthroughs with the support of their societies. What kind of breakthrough did Tsipras and Zayev achieve, not to mention that local societies are far from enthusiastic about what happened?! If the award reflected the reality and was objective, I would be proud of my prime minister, but when every second my compatriot does not support the parliament's actions, no joy is possible. In general, the process of awarding the Nobel Prize and the choice of laureates over the past 10 years seriously devalued this prestigious award," Dimitrios Liatsos believes.
He also assesses a 'Turkish breakthrough' of Tsipras without much enthusiasm. "Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an experienced and strong politician with whom we should resolve issues and improve interstate relations. But, according to my data, they did not touch upon serious issues at the talks in Ankara, but only fixed a desire to solve them. Of course, it’s good, but in fact nothing has changed so far," the source told Vestnik Kavkaza.