All analysts agree, the situation in the East Mediterranean is more dangerous than ever and the next 24 hours are considered critical as it will be clear whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pull the strings against Greece or whether it will continue the “war of nerves.”
In any case, the focal point will be if Ankara decides to send the Oruç Reis research vessel within 6 nautical miles of Kastelorizo island.
Possibly Ankara is trying to drag Athens into an overreaction, essentially flirting with a conflict.
At the same time, while the Turkish research ship continues to wander in the Mediterranean, opening and closing its radar, Turkey tries to disorient and transfer to Athens the responsibilities for the broken exploratory contacts, but also to “spread” the conditions for dialogue on the issues that it wants.
For its part, the Greek government is intensifying diplomatic contacts, clarifying that Turkish provocations are stopping exploratory contacts between the two countries.
The Greek government has called on the EU to step up sanctions.
Turkey is “flirting” with conflict
The government is on high alert, as the Greek side cannot rule out the possibility of Turkey seeking a conflict.
Among other things, Article 42 of the EU’s founding treaty on military assistance remains on the table in the event of a member state receiving an armed attack on its territory, an option which Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had informed his counterpart about since the summer.
Turkey’s decision to torpedo any attempt to de-escalate has mobilized military staff from the outset and the entire Armed Forces is now on high alert.
Filis on Newsbomb: Erdoğan knows that the Turks will leave defeated – If they leave
Newsbomb contacted Geopolitical and Geostrategic professor at the National Defense Academy (HNDC), George Filis, to analyze all the latest moves by Turkey with the Oruç Reis, the reaction of Greece and whether Athens can rely on Europeans its allies.
“Turkey is challenging our sovereign rights”
Filis points out that with this move and specifically with the issuance of NAVTEX, Erdoğan directly questions Greece’s right to exercise its sovereign rights in something it can do under international law.
“To emphasize that the coastal zone and the territorial waters are an extension of the land at sea and as Turkey behaves, Greece refuses to extend its dominance at sea. We can expand our territorial waters from 6 nautical miles to 12 without asking anyone,” points out the professor of Geostrategy when speaking to Newsbomb.
“Greece must respond”
Then Filis, commenting on the course of Oruç Reis, said that “if it comes within 12 nautical miles “Greece must respond so that it does not succeed, and if the Turks succeed, we must make sure that they do not leave safe and sound.”
From then on, the professor points out that “if we just prevent them from approaching, we will not have achieved anything in essence. There must be pressure for all Turkish forces to withdraw from the region , and we must say that under these circumstances there can be no exploratory contacts. Let’s not laugh, any exploratory contact is a negotiations.”
“Let’s send an oceanographic boat too!”
Answering a relevant question, Filis points out that Greece should respond to the movements of Oruç Reis by sending an oceanographic vessel between Imvros and Tenedos islands, currently occupied by Turkey, in order to conduct research in the area.
“In this way we will see how our allies in the European Union will react. The Turks; How will they react? Will they threaten to sink it?”
The moves that must be made from Athens
Filis, commenting on the moves that Greece must make in the immediate future in order to defend its sovereign rights, taking into account the growing pressure from Turkey, notes the following steps:
- To draw baselines.
- To delimit the Exclusive Economic Zone with Cyprus, on the minimum possible line so as to leave room for negotiations of the northern part with Ankara and in the south with Egypt.
- To move directly into a military alliance with France. To ask the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to come to the eastern Mediterranean region and put the US before its responsibilities in order to make it clear that Turkey’s behavior threatens the NATO alliance itself.
“We can not expect anything from the European Union”
Speaking to Newsbomb, the professor of Geostrategy emphasizes that at this stage we cannot expect anything from the European Union, as the conflicting interests within it, will most likely cause destructive tendencies in the future.
From then on, Filis points out that “Turkey’s behavior with Oruç Reis at the moment undermines Germany’s attempt to mediate. However, it does not only offend Germany, but also Angela Merkel herself as one of the most important political figures of our time.”
“When the German Chancellor guarantees the continuation of the negotiations between Greece and Turkey and Erdoğan proceeds to a new ‘Attila’ in Cyprus with the opening of Varosha and challenges Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, then the European Union has no choice but to take over action. It is understandable that Turkey has economic interests in the EU, however, it is in Germany’s best interest for the EU to exist so that it can advance its economic interests, as it has for decades.”
“The Turks will leave defeated”
Finally, Filis summarizes the goals of Erdoğan, as they arise from the behavior of Turkey.
- He wants to humiliate the Greek political system.
- He wants to exert psychological violence on the Greek nation, in an attempt to force it to accept that it is a satellite of Turkey.
- It wants to lead Greece to a negotiation based on the Turkish agenda and not International Law.
However, Filis concludes by emphasizing that all of the above, Erdoğan seeks to achieve without a military conflict, because “he knows very well that in such a case the Turkish forces will leave the battlefield defeated. If they leave…”