Turkey threatens Greece with military activities – Politics

Hardly noticed internationally, the relationship between Greece and Turkey. In the shadow of the Ukraine war and the anti-headscarf protests in Iran, Ankara has been repeating the accusation for days that Athens is stationing troops on some of its Aegean islands off Turkey. These are islands where, according to international agreements on the demarcation of the border between the two neighboring countries, Greece is not allowed to have any armed forces. “We will defend our country’s rights against Greece,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who describes these Greek islands as Greek-occupied. “And if it seems necessary to us, then with all the means and methods that are available to us.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the Turkish threat scenario “completely irrational”. But even Greece itself rarely misses an opportunity to reproach its neighbor. The tone in the dispute over refugee policy has also intensified: Turkey’s western land and sea borders are one of the few ways for refugees to get to Greece and thus to the EU. Ankara accuses Athens of a policy of systematic push-backs, while the Greek side claims that Turkey encourages people to flee across the border and violates the refugee deal with the EU. Erdoğan uses those seeking protection “as a weapon”.

Both the US government and NATO spoke out in favor of moderation between the hostile NATO partners. The island dispute is currently in the foreground. Erdoğan and his Defense Minister Hulusi Akar use every opportunity to threaten Athens. The head of state had repeatedly said that Greece could not compete militarily with Turkey and warned that the Turkish army could “suddenly in the middle of the night” create facts. This was understood as a threat to occupy some of these Greek islands.

A photo is currently causing a stir in the Turkish media, in which an alleged Greek landing ship can be seen unloading dozens of armored military vehicles in a port. According to Turkish information, these are wheeled tanks delivered to Athens by the USA and stationed on the islands of Lesbos and Samos. Ankara summoned the Greek ambassador and protested over a breach of international treaties from after World War I and World War II that regulate the demarcation of the Aegean Sea.

Erdoğan pursues domestic politics with his powerhouse

Undoubtedly, Erdoğan, who has to hold elections by June next year at the latest, is pursuing domestic politics with his powerhouse. He is targeting Turkish nationalism and the tense relationship with its Greek neighbors that has been going on for decades. However, it is also undeniable that the balance of power in the Aegean is shifting to Turkey’s disadvantage. For years, Ankara has acted as a dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean, on the bottom of which raw material deposits are said to lie.

Meanwhile, however, Washington’s interest has shifted from Ankara to Athens. The United States has been showing signs of fatigue in its dealings with Turkey, a NATO partner that is as important as it is difficult. At the same time, they are expanding their relationship with Greece, where they have increased their military presence and expanded bases in recent months. Washington is also supplying Athens with more weapons. Below are F-35Jets, the most modern Western fighter aircraft. And France supplies to Greece Rafale-Jets.

Ankara, on the other hand, will not get any after buying a Russian air defense system F-35 from the US. As a result, Turkey is threatening to fall behind Greece in the air force. She now wants 40 new ones as a temporary solution F-16 Buy machines in the USA and 8o kits to retrofit the existing Turkish ones F-16jets US President Joe Biden is said to support it. However, the project is met with resistance in the US Parliament.

To Erdoğan’s further irritation, the US recently lifted its arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. In the future, for the first time since 1987, it will be able to obtain unlimited weapons from the USA. This could shift the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean further to Turkey’s disadvantage. Ankara has already announced that it will increase the number of its soldiers in northern Cyprus. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has warned that an arms race is now looming on the island, which has been divided since 1974. The “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” in the north is internationally only recognized as a state by Ankara.

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