French Rafale fighters arrived in Cyprus. Defense against Turkey?
WARSAW, (BM) – Local Cypriot media reported that two Rafale fighter planes and a C-130 cargo plane belonging to the French Air Force have arrived at Andreas Papandreou air base in Paphos, Cyprus, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
The arrival of French fighters in Cyprus is, according to the Greek-Cypriot daily “Politis”, the effect of a bilateral agreement on defense cooperation signed on August 1, 2020. The planes are to remain at the base in Paphos for the next few days, from where they are to [according to official explanations] cooperate with the French naval forces in the region and patrol the so-called the exclusive economic zone, established unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot administration.
According to French media, the KC-130J air tanker and the C-160R Transal providing logistic support were also sent to Cyprus with Rafale fighters. However, the stay of French aircraft may be extended, as in September 2020 France and the Greek-Cypriot authorities plan to carry out airborne maneuvers. The armed forces of other countries can also participate in these exercises.
Such involvement of France on the side of Cyprus is a clear warning to the authorities in Ankara. However, despite the fact that the French cooperate with the Greek Cypriot administration in many areas, they are also trying to maintain a partnership with Turkey and indirectly also with the so-called The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This helps to ease tensions and resolve conflicts that continue to arise between the Greek and Turkish governments.
Germany is trying to ensure a similar balance. It was the efforts of the German government’s diplomats that helped to calm the situation when the authorities in Athens opposed the operation of the Turkish seismic vessel, MTA “Oruç Reis” in the area south of the island of Kastellorizo (one of the closest Greek islands to Turkey).
The situation worsened again, however, when the Greek government reached an agreement to demarcate sea borders with Egypt last week. The government in Ankara considered that the provisions of this agreement violated Turkish rights to use the continental shelf as well as the law of the sea in general. Therefore, Turkey has announced that the MTA research vessel “Oruç Reis” will continue its work until August 23, 2020.
Accusations are being made from both sides, which are dangerous in so far as they concern two countries officially belonging to the military alliance within NATO. The situation seems hopeless, as the Turks want to have the right to resources in the waters surrounding the so-called The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is recognized in the world only by the authorities in Ankara.
In this case, we can see a great similarity to what happened in Crimea in 2014. However, while Russia as a nuclear power could impose its will on Ukraine by plundering Ukrainian territory permanently, Turkey was an equal military “enemy” for Greece and could only lead to the informal separation of the northern part of the territory of Cyprus.
French planes can thus prevent possible military incidents, but they certainly will not solve the problems that have been generated by Turkish and Greek authorities for years.
Turkey threatens Greece with missile fire
As we reported yesterday [August 11 – ed.] “the Turkish UAVs provide control of the airspace of the search area, something that causes anger in Greece” Turkish sources said.
“Thanks to our Atmaca anti-ship missile, which was put into operation this year, the Greek side will not be able to target our vessels without retaliation in the SE Mediterranean”, Turkish sources emphasize.
The same sources also state that “any possible transfer of Greek troops by ships will be prevented by Atmaca missiles at a distance of 200 kilometers”.
While they emphasize that Oruç Reis has started research activities in the declared area, as the control of the airspace of the area is provided by Turkish unmanned vehicles.
Their purpose is to create an air shield on the ship, while the Oruç Reis has clearly “laid out” cables and is conducting research on an agenda.
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