Turkey’s discourse can be indicating a planned invasion of Syria and a destabilization of the eastern Mediterranean.
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
SEPTEMBER 6, 2022
Turkey is continuing to threaten Greece as the two countries once again appear headed toward a crisis. Ankara is using the crises to try to sideline and isolate Athens as Turkey also waits to play the energy card amid the Ukraine-Russia war.
Ankara, for instance, has been using vicious rhetoric and conjuring up dark memories of the ethnic cleansing of Greeks from what is now Turkey in the 1920s. At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been mocking Europe’s energy crisis even as Ankara seeks to play a role in exporting grain from Ukraine and brokering deals with Russia.
None of Turkey’s stances are new. Ankara, however, has sought since 2020 to patch up relations with other countries it threatened. It has maneuvered to heal ties with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Greece is an exception. Turkey has been bashing Greece and there are fears that worse may be to come. Turkey’s state media TRT has been instructed to “explain” the recent tensions by blaming the West and Greece.
For instance, a recent article at TRT claimed, “Experts believe Greece’s increasing violations of Turkish airspace is part of an agenda encouraged by the West to corner Turkey for taking an independent foreign policy.” Turkey’s state media openly says the “status of Aegean islands as well as the eastern Mediterranean’s newly discovered rich gas reserves” are issues that Turkey disputes.
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