The Greek side is obliged to be, as it is, in a constant state of readiness, and to combine a clear and fine line of composure with a firm demonstration of decisiveness.
The overarching aim of sending the “Abdulhamid Han” for natural gas and oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean is to forcefully assert the Turkish dogma of the “Blue Homeland”.
Even if the international community would not tolerate a Turkish provocation in the Eastern Mediterranean, given the current confluence of events, we should not remain complacent.
Turkey knows that Greece and the West constitute a stable front in confronting the game of revisionism, with composure and without high-pitched rhetoric.
“#URGENT Türkiye's Abdulhamid Han drill ship to start mission in Mediterranean, will leave Mersin port on Aug. 9, says energy minister,” Anadolu Agency tweeted tonight.
The characteristics of the current phase in Greek-Turkish relations is hardly unfamiliar to Greece, as it is part of a diachronic blame game.
Erdogan has not moved an inch in pursuing a wide array of claims and challenges to Greek sovereignty, and the PM must make tough calls on what more Athens may legitimately negotiate, without compromising sovereignty and national interests.
Mitsotakis and Harris discussed Turkish provocations against Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, at a time when Ankara is disputing Athens’ sovereignty over certain Aegean islands, which Turkey claims should be demilitarised.
In his presentation, Dendias offered comprehensive answers to Turkey’s claims with maps illustrating Ankara’s flouting of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The change in America’s intentions and priorities should come as no surprise. It confirms that despite some doubling back by Washington, geopolitical developments in our neighbourhood remain exceptionally fluid.
Putin and Mitsotakis are to adopt a 2022-2024 joint action plan which, according to Greek government sources, will determine the basic axes of bilateral cooperation over the coming years.
'With Spain, Germany, and other countries involved in arms deals with Turkey, it would be difficult for Ankara to be described as a 'threat'. It is oxymoronic to arm a country that threatens us.' The view of Brussels is that, “Europe is stronger when Turkey is with it rather than against it.”
The popularity of the once most popular Turkish politician is plummeting, and the economic problems of the “regional power” are constantly growing. Inflation and poverty are battering his working class base of support.
Pompeo said he is enthusiastic about the recent US-Greece Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement and that Turkey is undermining security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
During the Russian PM’s March visit, Mitsotakis had underlined that the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council “places on you the duty of maintaining peace on a global level.”
Yayci is the originator of Ankara’s expansionist “Blue Motherland” theory, which claims large segments of Greece’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for Turkey.
'Following our pressures there is a clear reference to the need for Turkey to abide by the EU-Turkey Joint StatemeNT…and indeed the European Council calls on the Commission to propose legal changes with specific measures and funding for the more secure guarding of our borders,' the PM said.
'We use hard power when all other choices are exhausted and in order to drive things to dialogue and diplomacy. In the Eastern Mediterranean, we mobilised in order to demonstrate that our legal rights and our sovereignty are non-negotiable,' said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The Greek people see that clearly see the upgraded relations and alliances with all of major players both on the international stage and in our region - with agreements on delimiting our EEZ with Egypt and Italy, on the electricity link-up with Egypt and Italy, and with the defence agreement with France,
The specific reference to the implementation of international law specifically in the Eastern Mediterranean sends a clear measure to Ankara at a time when it is actively challenging and disputing Greece’s and Cyprus’ rights under international law in the region.
Dendias touted the fact that even as the US adjusts its international presence it chose to remain in Greece, and he delicately confirmed that the Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) has been renewed for five years and that thereafter it will be in effect indefinitely.
The declaration comes less than two weeks after Greece and France signed a mutual defence pact and even as Ankara has decided to send its Oruc Reis research vessel to the Eastern Mediterranean.
While Ankara has systematically harassed and blocked the Nautical Geo research vessel, which is to conduct research in the Mediterranean to plot the course of the EastMed pipeline, occupying a large swathe of Cyprus’ EEZ, Akar claimed that the ship is violating Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction.
The prospect of high-level political negotiations between Athens and Ankara has fueled concerns among analysts that Greece may make concessions that touch on national sovereignty.
Despite concerns over recent Turkish backsliding on human rights, the EU has applauded Ankara’s recent withdrawal of vessels operating in disputed waters and restarting talks with Greece.
The Greek side must remain devoted to its line, ring the alarm bells when necessary, and come to the table of exploratory talks with determination.
It was the 61st round of such talks, which commenced in 2002, when George Papandreou was foreign minister, and were abruptly terminated in 2016 after an abortive coup against Erdogan
The addition of the French war planes to the Greek Air Force fleet has been touted as giving the Greek Air Force a strategic boost in its deterrent force amid Turkish threats.
Though both sides have long declared publicly that they wish to resume talks, their views on the agenda and limits of such a dialogue are diametrically opposed.
American intervention can protect the status quo in the Eastern Mediterranean and effectively prod Greece and Turkey to return to the negotiating table on an equal footing,
Turkey was well aware of the cost to Greece of being on constant military alert and hoped that this would break Athens' resistance and force it to retreat and accept Ankara's claims.
In Turkey, his sacking of his son-in-law and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, showS that Edogan will not hesitate to sacrifice even family members in order to stay in power.
Each time Erdoagn pushed the envelope a bit further because he knew that although Greece was complaining strongly the EU would not significantly change its posture.
If Donald Trump is defeated in next week’s US presidential elections Ankara may well escalate its provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean in order to instigate a military incident.
To justify his military intervention on many fronts Erdogan says that he is is guided by the Ottoman past, but he is in fact reviving the catastrophic, expansionist Nazi theory of lebensraum.
'It is my firm hope that the underlying disputes between two allies can now be addressed purely though negotiations in the spirit of allied solidarity and international law,” Nato's chief said.
In a break with US diplomatic custom that if a Secretary of State visits Greece he or she will also visit Turkey and vice versa, Pompeo decided to visit only Greece, a move viewed as a stern message to Ankara,
'We have the issue of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean which is not the affair of Greece and Cyprus alone but an EU issue,' Michel said
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has repeatedly declared that dialogue is inconceivable before Turkey withdraws its forces from the area. He clearly ruled out the concept of diplomacy at gunpoint.
In addition MED7 leaders urged Greece and Turkey to dialogue. The seven leaders led by Emmanuel Macron are not prepared to accept Turkish hegemony in the Mediterranean.
The strategy of pursuing closer ties with France was vindicated in 1979 when French president Valerie Giscard D’Estaing passionately supported Greece’s accession to the European Economic Community (EEC)
As accustomed as one may be to such actions by Turkey, they still offer a foretaste of what may happen if the limits are surpassed.
In a tweet on the 27 conversation Trump’s spokesman John Deere said, 'President Trump also highlighted the importance of Turkey and Greece resolving their disagreements in the eastern Mediterranean.'
Erdogan is standing by his pledge to provide military support to the government of Tripoli which is internationally recognised but controls only the capital.
The leader of Turkey loses no opportunity to display his aggressiveness. Yesterday he spoke about grey zones in the Aegean (Greek islands whose sovereignty Ankara disputes) and accused Greece and its allies of trying to block Turkey’s access to the sea. He announced that he will bolster Ankara’s military support for the government of Libya. Athens responds to this intransigence with the Agreement of the Four in which it is joined by Israel, Egypt, and Cyprus for the construction of the EastMed pipeline. Greece is also taking initiatives in the Middle East such as the foreign minister’s trip to Libya and Egypt yesterday. Along with these moves the government must not forget that Turkey will remain our neighbour. Hence, channels of communication must remain open not in order to make bilateral agreements on issues (mainly of sovereignty) that divide the countries and which Athens has always considered non-negotiable, but rather to make it possible for Greece and Turkey to eventually go to the International Court of Justice to resolve issues that the two sides have agreed to in advance. There are many obstacles in such a course. The Greek political class fears the political cost that reviving this issue will have. The Turkish political class, which theoretically does not rule out such an eventuality in fact places so many preconditions that make such a solution prohibitive. That does not mean that diplomacy must resign itself to the current situation and problems. A military clash would be disastrous for both countries. Greece is also taking initiatives in the Middle East such as the foreign minister’s trip to Libya and Egypt yesterday.
Setting aside Ankara’s bellicose behaviour and territorial claims in Cyprus’ maritime zone and the Aegean, Akar maintained that Turkey supports 'good neighbourly relations, international law and mutual respect'.
The US, Russia, France, Cyprus, Israel, and most recently Italy have all underlined that the Turkey-Libya MOU is a serious threat to regional stabilit,
The Greek readout indicated that both leaders agreed on the need to deepen exceptionally good bilateral relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first foreign leader to call and congratulate Mitsotakis, even before the final results were in.
'Greece is a sovereign country that is in a position to defend its sovereign rights. There is no scenario under which a [Turkish drilling ship] will drill in the Greek continental shelf because that will be blocked.'
The US Ambassador said the US, EU 'share a perspective on developments in the waters off of Cyprus... and in avoiding any further provocative actions by Turkey'.
'Our country steadfastly follows a policy that is based on respect for international law. Obviously that does not mean giving in to pressure. We steadfastly fend off every effort at revisionism and we insist on resolving disputes through dialogue.'
In a lengthy statement, the Defence Department clearly articulated US interests and power in the region and the crucial nature of the US-Greece military alliance.
Turkey may consider that this period is opportune for it to impose its views on the delimitation of Greece’s territorial waters and continental shelf.
The government and the opposition, trapped in a ruthless political clash just ten days before the European Parliament election, are downplaying or even ignoring Turkey’s evolving and escalating hostility in the region. With constant manoeuvres, Erdogan is disputing the status quo in the Eastern Mediterranean and seeking an opportunity to advance what he views as his interests. He has pressed forward with gas exploration in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic zone with a rather tepid international response. He formalised his claims by summoning the diplomats of neighbouring countries, including Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece. He is pressing on with huge military exercises and loses no opportunity to violate Greek airspace. If one factors in the tensions in the broader region – with attacks on ships and the open conflict between the US and Iran – it is clear that the situation is becoming explosive. The Greek government’s statements of condemnation obviously do not address the issue, nor does a merely formal alignment of the government and the opposition suffice to confront Ankara’s provocations. Unfortunately, domestic political polarisation does not permit the hammering out of a unified national line that can address current threats and provide a long-term national strategy. Pressured by domestic economic problems and his party’s loss of the Istanbul mayoralty, Erdogan is seeking a way out of his impasse abroad so as to rally his domestic political base. Erdogan is unpredictable and volatile and thus there is a danger that he might provoke a crisis that could easily spin out of control. There is enough military firepower gathered in the Eastern Mediterranean to pose the risk of triggering an explosion at any moment. The leader of the American superpower is also unstable and unpredictable enough to provoke a crisis in the region in order to flex his muscle. Meanwhile, the fact that the European Union is almost paralysed and unable at the moment to take bold decisions further complicates the situation. In Greece, the necessary national understanding is being undermined by the frenzied electoral campaign. The prime minister, who should have taken the initiative to rally political forces so as to forge a national strategy, is preoccupied with his struggle to cling to power at all costs. The result is that Greece is drifting and monitoring events as a bystander instead of seeking alliances and fending off designs and provocations. Though there is absolutely no room for complacency, we are preoccupied with polarising domestic clashes instead of seeking the basis for an understanding at least on national issues that have bedeviled us for decades. The government and the opposition, trapped in a ruthless political clash just ten days before the European Parliament election, are downplaying or even ignoring Turkey’s evolving and escalating hostility in the region.
It was announced in Nicosia that Sergey Lavrov intends to visit the island at an undetermined time, even as Moscow’s Ambassador to Athens expressed fears over the escalation of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The S-400s radars have a range of up to 570—600kms. They can detect bombers at a distance of 570kms and F-16 Fighters with a 400km range.
The discovery of huge gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s hostile stance towards drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ by companies including ExxonMobil has pushed Washington to shift stance.
'Despite our good will we shall do whatever is necessary to defend our rights and just positions and we shall respond,' Akar, the former chairman of Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
Erdogan constantly cultivates the sense of a quest for lost Ottoman grandeur and at the same time he disputes Turkey’s traditional ties with the West.
'The Aegean is a sacred place for Greece. No one can carve it up and distribute it by saying this is within or outside its limits,' Efthimios Lekkas said, denouncing Tsironis’ statement
Foreign diplomats – including US Ambassador Pyatt - have expressed concerns over a military “accident” due to the large concentration of firepower, heightened tensions in the region.
Erdogan says Ankara is determined to defend its 'rights' on Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Aegean.
A key qustion is whether Apostolakis indeed has information from intelligence services about the prospect of a Turkish landing and takeover of a Greek rock islet.
Turkey has often made clear that its perceived interests include the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of its two neighbours.
'It [Cyprus] being drawn into U.S. and NATO plans in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East will inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilising consequences for Cyprus itself,' warned the Russian Foreign Ministry.
'We tell our friends the necessary words – don’t pressure us and don’t put us in a tight spot. That is the only way that mutual trust can develop,' Erdogan said
The Syriza-Independent Greeks government’s first step toward firming up relations with the US was in the field of energy, after the summer of 2015
One of the issues on the table in the Apostolakis-Dunford talks was the Greek request for an enhanced American presence in Greece