Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Greek military escalation to counter Erdogan’s bullying after diplomacy fails

Monday 28/September/2020 - 03:07 PM
The Reference
Shaimaa Yahya


The escalating crisis between Turkey and Greece over the riches of the Mediterranean and the extent of their entitlement to them geographically has caused an international rift. Thus planes have fly over the horizon and battleships wrestle with the waves, announcing their preparedness as the conflict bodes an imminent military war.

Escalating in word and deed

The Greek government took a new step to deter Turkish moves in its territorial waters in the Mediterranean, as it deployed forces on the Aegean islands on Saturday, September 26, after Turkey deployed forces on the coast.

The scene increased tensions after the escalating measures on both sides. Athens announced that it would not agree to withdraw its forces from the Aegean islands except after Ankara withdrew its forces first, which makes international efforts to reach a solution difficult.

Greece has benefited from the follies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as he provided them many gains on the diplomatic and military levels, and the Greek navy learned lessons on how to deal with the Turkish penetration despite the increase in tensions in the region.

A report published by the Greek newspaper Ekathimerni indicated a great gain in the Greek navy’s clear superiority in the field of anti-submarine warfare, which has frustrated the resolve of the Turkish army and made Greece’s superiority a source of concern for the Erdogan regime. 


Mohammed Rabie al-Daihi, a researcher in international relations, said that the Greek position took a new escalation step by sending forces to the Aegean Sea in an attempt to respond to the Turkish attacks, which is a very dangerous indicator before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Greece with the aim of reaching a solution to calm tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and reduce the possibility of a war in the region that could lead to the collapse of NATO due to Turkey's encroachment on a country that is also a member of the alliance. Additionally, the European position, led by France, is currently fraught with anger as a result of Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East region, which threatens the interests of the European Union and NATO as well.

Hence, the Greek position did not agreeing to withdraw troops from the Aegean islands except after Turkey withdraws first, which bears many indications, according to Daihi, as Greek policy is heading towards a change towards the Turkish position, since Greece has exhausted all parties of negotiation and political dialogue.

Confronting bullying

Daihi noted in a statement to the Reference that Greece’s position came to embarrass the international community, which always switches to resolving matters by political means, which quickly calms down for a period, and then Turkey returns again to violating Greece’s sovereignty without any sanctions. So it seems that Greece sees military escalation and its threat to use its forces as the best way to come to terms with Erdogan's policy, which relies on thuggery to impose a fait accompli on neighboring countries and interfere in their domestic affairs. Therefore, Greece aims to find a final solution to Turkey’s violations and to limit its role in the region.

Greece will now rely on its allies in the Eastern Mediterranean Forum, as well as its European allies, to face Turkey, especially since Ankara’s role has intensified a lot recently and started to develop in light of the domestic crises that the Turkish regime suffers from, according to Daihi. Ankara realizes that if its obstinacy continues, it will be subject to European sanctions, in addition to the possibility of facing major countries such as France, Italy, Austria, and the group of Eastern Mediterranean Forum countries. This means that Ankara will restore its accounts in the Eastern Mediterranean again, especially if the forum is transformed into a regional organization and will have great international and regional weight due to its importance. From here, the Greek step aims to pressure Turkey and the international community to quickly end the dispute with Ankara.