If France and Egypt actively support Greece, Turkey will be defeated
This post was published in VPK. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
MOSCOW, (BM) – The scenario of a war between two NATO members, Greece and Turkey, described quite recently, is becoming more and more real and tangible. The specific reason for a possible war is the division of the Mediterranean shelf with oil and gas fields.
At the same time, the country, which is also a NATO member, unexpectedly but very decisively came out on the side of Greece. And this country is a whole France, a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. However, it is clear that the nuclear potential of this country is irrelevant, it will not be used under any circumstances. But the usual potential of the French Armed Forces has, as it were, even openly demonstrated.
In the event of a military confrontation only between Greece and Turkey, the latter has an obvious advantage. The intervention of France radically changes the situation.
The French ground forces have the least influence on this situation. In terms of the number of tanks and artillery systems, they are much weaker than both the Greek and Turkish ones. Ground military air defense is absolutely insignificant; now it consists only of Mistral MANPADS.
There are still a few SAMR / T and Krotal air defense systems, but they are part of the Air Force and are intended to protect military airfields. And it is difficult to imagine the transfer of French ground contingents to Greece. But it is no less difficult to imagine in general a land war between Greece and Turkey through a very short and geographically inconvenient continental border between these countries, especially since the border is far from the disputed shelf. Accordingly, the weakness of the French ground forces does not matter much. What matters is French air and sea potential.
In terms of the number of American F-16C / D fighter-bombers, Turkey currently has an advantage over Greece 235 to 154, according to the old, but still vigorous Phantoms – 43 to 33, while Turkey also has 20 equally old ones in service. but upgraded F-5. In addition, at least one and a half hundred different outdated aircraft are in storage on each side, but their return to service is hardly possible.
True, Greece has 42 more French fighter-bomber Mirage-2000, to which France can add 156 similar aircraft of several modifications at once [and the French have up to 64 such aircraft in storage]. This already significantly changes the balance of power, but France has 105 much more modern Rafale-V / S, belonging to the 4+ generation [F-16 and Mirage-2000 – 4th generation].
Even a partial use of this potential immediately changes the balance of power against Turkey. It may be recalled that in the only real air battle in October 1996, the Greek Mirage-2000 shot down a Turkish F-16D. “Rafal” is obviously much better than the F-16 [with “Phantoms” belonging to the 3rd generation, it is generally pointless to compare them].
Another 43 “Raphael-M” is carried by the only French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”. However, nothing prevents the deck “Raphael” from flying from ground airfields, further increasing the superiority of the Franco-Greek coalition in the air.
According to the German-built submarines of the project 209 of various modifications, Turkey has an advantage over Greece of 12 to 7, however, Greece has four newest submarines of the project 214. France can put up four Rubis-class submarines, thereby providing the Franco-Greek side with a certain superiority under water. In terms of frigates, Turkey surpasses Greece by a ratio of 22 to 13.
France has 29 frigates, of which 11 are actually destroyers (they are classified as “1st rank frigates”). Of these destroyers, 8 (2 of the Forbin type, 6 of the Aquitaine type) are the latest ships, significantly superior in their performance characteristics to any of the Turkish frigates. In terms of the number of missile boats, Turkey bypasses Greece by very little (19 and 17), so the Franco-Greek coalition will have a significant superiority in the surface forces. It is clear that in a potential conflict it is impossible to involve all available air and sea forces, but this applies equally to all parties.
If the war is air-sea, then the ground air defense of the parties will not be able to make a special contribution to it. Although the Greeks are able to deploy their air defense systems on the islands in the Aegean Sea, and they have already deployed the S-300P in Crete. This could create additional problems for the Turkish Air Force.
However, the Turks are theoretically able to bring the S-400 to their Mediterranean coast, then the French and Greeks will become sad. The question is how much the Turkish military mastered the newly purchased air defense system and how much they bought the air defense system for it.
There is evidence that there are only about 120 missiles, that is, less than Greece and France have combat aircraft. True, if the S-400 knocks down at least a couple of dozen aircraft, the rest will sharply diminish the desire to climb into its zone of action.
Although ground-based air defense adds to the uncertainty, the overall quantitative and qualitative superiority is on the side of Athens and Paris. Moreover, their task is purely destructive: to prevent Turkish geological exploration on the shelf, as well as, possibly, the transfer of Turkish troops to Libya.
This makes the coalition’s actions even easier, since it does not need to defend anything, and makes Turkey’s position completely unpleasant – its Air Force and Navy, on the contrary, find themselves “tied” to defenseless geophysical and transport vessels. Oil rigs will be even more vulnerable if it comes to installing them offshore.
The situation becomes simply exciting if the Libyan scenario is added to the Mediterranean scenario, where France is on the side of the “opposition” (LNA led by Haftar), and Turkey actively supports the “legitimate government” (PNS led by Saraj). The main support of the LNA, as you know, is Egypt, which in fact is already in a state of covert war with Turkey and is one step away from a direct invasion of Libya (“The Expected Impossible”).
At the same time, he is also actively involved in offshore affairs. Earlier this year, Turkey and Libya (represented by the PNC) signed an agreement to “close” their economic zones in the Mediterranean Sea, to which Greece and Egypt recently responded with a similar “closure”. The arbitrary delimitation of Mediterranean waters by both pairs has a very distant relationship to the law of the sea, but it creates the possibility of another conflict, since each of the pairs divided the same waters.
Accordingly, Cairo can quite openly side with Paris and Athens. And put up against Ankara up to 300 modern combat aircraft (F-16, Mirages-2000, Rafaley and MiG-29M2), three Project 209 submarines, 11 frigates (including one “actual destroyer” of the “Aquitania” type), not less than 30 missile boats.
After which the superiority of the “troika” becomes overwhelming. Moreover, the United Arab Emirates, which have 78 F-16s of the most advanced E / F modifications and up to 58 Mirages-2000 in the Air Force, at least 30 missile corvettes and boats in the Navy, can also act on its side. It is clear that the Emirates will not send all this into battle, but even a third of this potential will make Turkey’s position completely sad.
In this situation, it would be strange for Greece not to attempt to liquidate the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The war for Cyprus between only Greece and Turkey is almost guaranteed to be won by Turkey (despite the participation of the Cypriot land forces on the side of the Greeks), but in the configuration described here, on the contrary, Greece is practically guaranteed to win.
At the same time, Cyprus is becoming an excellent “unsinkable aircraft carrier” for the coalition, allowing its aircraft to penetrate deep into Turkish airspace. And in this case, the Syrian troops and Kurdish formations, with the “feasible help” of the Russian aviation, will be able to cleanse Idlib and Afrin from the Turks and their local puppets.
Ironically, out of five potential war participants, three are NATO members, and the other two are the most westernized countries in the Arab world. But this is certainly not what will stop the war, for there is no longer that West in general, and even more so NATO in particular. It will be stopped by the fear of human and material losses, which in the event of such a grandiose “batch” will be huge for all participants in the war. On the other hand, someone may just accidentally break off or just as accidentally re-bluff. After that, an uncontrolled escalation will follow.
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