Public policy think tanks often provide much more information, and make more valuable proposals and analyses than Government offices. These comparisons are usually the results of think-tank scholars performing neutral research, rather than contriving to arrive at pre-considered, even pre-determined solutions that Government ‘specialists’ desire. Two recent articles, each by a different member of the Lexington Institute, Dr. Daniel Goure and Constance Baroudos, emphasized the high importance of the Souda Bay naval installation in the Greek island of Crete.
Dr. Daniel Goure’s article: “Souda Bay: NATO’s Eastern Mediterranean Military Gem” and Constance Baroudos’: “The European Reassurance Initiative Is a Smart Response to Urgent Threats,” both emphasize the significance of this splendid military harbor to occasions of dangers and conflicts in the region. They further advise various prospects for plans and operations to either avoid or confront catastrophic possibilities.
Souda Bay has been esteemed by naval experts for a long time. In the 1980s, still in the Cold War with the Soviets, the American navy considered it “the second best military naval harbor in the world, second only to Pearl Harbor.”
Souda bay has been used by the United States since early in the Cold War. Now, with the Middle East in flames and uncertainty, it is of equal vital importance as during the Cold War era. During both Iraq conflicts, Souda Bay was the only site for American naval and air forces to refuel their ships and aircraft, or to refurbish them.
Another huge advantage of Souda Bay is that it is located on an
Island, thus not easily prone to terrorist sabotage. It is not easy to arrive on the island in none-legal means. Terrorists cannot cross borders on the water nor swim from far distances away. Crete is like a stationery aircraft carrier.
Yet, with all the advantages of Souda May and the island of Crete, Cyprus is even more advantageous in at least certain aspects. Cyprus is even closer to the Levant, and as such closer to all the currently danger-prone countries. It, also, however, has the advantages of Crete in that it is an island, not easil—if at all — accessible to terrorists from abroad.
Cyprus has two British bases, the army base at Dhekelia and the air base at Akrotiri. Being British, they are part of the Anglo-American defense understanding. These two bases, and especially the air base, can be used against the terrorists in Iraq, Syria, and wherever else required, even easier and quicker than the farther away Crete. And with Cyprus, a totally westernized and non-Muslim country, Americans would not have to face the restrains imposed by the Turks for use of their Incirlick Air Base, nor being blackmailed in using it. In addition, Turkey misuses American use of the facility in that it does not receive condemnation for its pathetic anti-Kurdish campaign, the only group in the region that fights for freedom, paralleling America’s regional interests.
Why is it, therefore, that the splendidly-located military facilities in Cyprus are not used, relying totally upon uncooperative and demanding Turkey?
It is unfortunate that not-properly-educated and trained American foreign-policy makers considered and continue to consider Turkey in
the totally erroneous Kissinger philosophy of power without control. Turkey is not a willing participant in the Middle East conflict. Turkey is dastardly aggressive, putative ally, which will provide some menial assistance after receiving blackmail demands for much-greater assistances. This a Turkish national trait of giving much less than receiving for promises given but not carried out.
It is high time that Turkey’s bluff be revealed. Turkey has been the third largest recipient of American foreign aid since World War II, yet America has not come close to receiving the goods for which it pays.
Turkey does not change, but tries to make the world change to its vehement attitude. Yet, we must understand its old Asiatic mentality, difficult for the Western world educated in democratic traditions. It becomes imperative, therefore, that the West view Turkey as it is, and not try to change it in terms and conduct alien to its misrepresenting and uncooperative society.