Aegean Sea: new provocation by Ankara

At Thursday, the survey ship of the Turkish navy “Cesme” sailed from its base in Instabul and is reportedly moving in the Bosphorus.

In an ecalation of threats and provocations, Ankara has announced that its vessel will carry research in central Aegean Sea, between the Greek islands of Lemnos, Agios Efstratios and Skyros until March 2.

For the time being the Greek government is protesting but it is keeping a low profile.

But, given the fact, that now Turkey is not operating in the disputed areas of Eastern Mediterranean Sea but at the very centre of the Aegean Sea, no Greek government will be able to tolerate such an activity for a long time. 

It is a pity for stability and peace in Mediterranean, but it seems Ankara is able to make policy only by threatening to project its military power and by adopting an excessive nationalistic agenda, whose only result will be to strengthen the supposed “axis” between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel and help Greek political forces which would like a heightened tension with Ankara.

It is probable, according to diplomatic sources, that Ankara is acting that way to force Greece to make unacceptable concessions in the upcoming Greek – Turkish talks. It is also probable that those threats are also a reaction to the perceived “threat” of “encirclement” from an axis “Greece – Cyprus – Israel – Egypt”.

But Turkey has no right whatsoever to use a gunboat diplomacy in order to deter those countries from cooperating!

Besides and in real terms such an axis, to the extent it exists in real terms, and it is not a mere propagandistic conspiracy to provoke animosity between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey will not be able to launch any kind of attack to Turkey.

The only possible scenario of a Greek – Turkish war is to organize a provocation and then international forces which would like a war to exploit it, through their influence in both Greece and Turkey. The activities of the Turkish navy rather facilitate than deter such a scenario.

As for the EastMed pipeline project (Israel-Cyprus-Greece-Italy), which is also fueling Turkish suspicions and animosities, it is born dead. There is not any serious chance for it to be realized. One wonders if its sole aim was not, from the very beginning, to provoke tensions between Greece and Turkey, thus providing new tools to outside forces wishing to dominate the region.

It will be ridiculous and tragic in the same time, for both Greece and Turkey, to be driven into a conflict or even an armaments competition, for hydrocarbons nobody knows if they even exist, whose demand is at an all time low and while both countries are facing very serious economic and other problems. 

The differences between Greece and Turkey in Greece and regarding Cyprus are extremely hard to solve given the place they occupy in the national ideologies of both countries. Under the circumstances, the preservation of the de facto status quo seems to remain the best option for both Greece and Turkey. Besides, Athens and Ankara remain, more or less, in a state of “strategic parity”, as they both dispose the capacity to inflict unacceptable cost to the other side. A real military conflict between them can easily lead to the destruction of both countries.

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