M.Meletopoloulos: “Decoding the significance of Dardanelles”

Μελέτης Μελετόπουλος, Δρ.Οικονομικών και Κοινωνικών Επιστημών

Meletis Meletopoulos Dr. social and Economic Sciences

Dardanelles strait is one of the most critical geostrategic spots on the planet. They connect the Black Sea to the Aegean sea and in a broader sense Ukraine, Russia and Caucasus, to the rest of Eastern Mediterranean. Dardanelles also “bridge” the Balkans and Central Europe to Asia Minor and Middle East. Essentially, from a wider spectrum, Dardanelles are a major hub for the connection between Europe and the Suez strait, leading to the Indian Ocean.

by Meletis Meletopoulos

A multitude of myths and prehistorical narratives, proves the early geostrategic interest of Greeks for the Dardanelles straits. Provided that the Trojan war did actually take place, the aim of the Mycenaeans was to take full control of the straits and gain access to the goldmines of Transcaucasia.

In the historical times, the first and second Greek colonization, formed a geopolitical ring, surrounding the Dardanelles straits i.e. Byzantium, Chrysoupoli etc.

Since Alexander’s times up until the fall of Constantinople -that is more than two centuries-, Greek-Romans held full control of the straits, and the so-called “western world”.

The Fall of Constantinople in 1453, signified the loss of control of the Straits, from the hands of the Western World. The ottoman empire in 1453 ingeniously named Constantinople as the nations’ capital.

In 1700 Russia, in its efforts to become a global superpower, conducted a series of wars for more than two centuries against turkey. The objective was to take control both of Constantinople and the Dardanelle straits.

Solid policy of both western nations such as Britain, and the US was to suspend any Russian movement to take control of the straits. That was the reason-even until today- that the “dying” ottoman empire was placed in the “intensive care”, due to the fact that the West can concerned about the takeover of the Dardanelles by the Russians. During the Cold War, the participation of Turkey in NATO, “protected” the Straits against any Russian expectation.

The current detachment of Turkey from the West, causes a major headache to the western powers, concerning the control of the Straits. The conflict between Russia and Turkey, as well as the obstacles that Ankara sets in the free movement of ships through the Straits, based on international treaties, raises issues, which have been dealt with in the past. Turkey is now opening up Pandora’s box!

* Meletis Meletopoulos holds a PhD in Economic and Social Sciences, Geneva University.