It is historically proven that authoritarian regimes do not poison only the countries which they rule.

Often, precisely in order to shore up domestic support, they incite major crises outside their borders.

History appears to be repeating itself today with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish president is the architect of his country’s slide into authoritarianism. Facing the danger of being confronted by oppressed Turkish citizens, he has resorted to sabre-rattling on the international stage.

It is from this perspective that one should view the recent provocation near the Imia islets. Having opened a front with the Kurds in Syria, and while counting the first dead, the Turkish president is resorting to diversionary tactics.

In order to appear strong in Turkish public opinion, he is threatening all and sundry: the US with “Ottoman slaps”, Greece with an outbreak of war, and the EU with annulment of the agreement on migration.

He is roaring, not in order to be heard in Athens, Brussels, or Washington, but rather by his people, who are suffering greatly under his leadership.

Calm is certainly advisable in such circumstances. Yet it is not enough. The government must shield the country.

It must prepare on all levels, and firstly on that of diplomacy, with clear-mindedness, a plan, and a goal, with all the things in which the Turkish president is lacking. Like all authoritarian leaders, he has lost his personal sense of measure, and with it, the sense of his country’s limits.

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