Erdogan’s ‘insidious’ plan to cut off Cyprus from Greece
This post was published in Pentapostagma. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
ATHENS, (BM) – The Cyprus issue is “hidden” behind the recent Turkish moves in the eastern Mediterranean. Analyzes coming from the competent scientific staffs to the political leaderships of the Ministries of National Defense and Foreign Affairs show that the recent Turkish actions in the burnt triangle Crete – Kastellorizo - Cyprus have nothing to do with energy policy issues, but are aimed exclusively at geopolitics.
In the long run, when according to the Turkish aspirations- this plan will be implemented, the isolated Cyprus will be an easy north to the unstoppable Turkish greed, so that later (comfortably) the Aegean and Thrace will take over, as the Sunday Republic reports.
Recently, Ankara has been systematically constructing alternative “cut-off zones” of Cyprus from Greece, continuing the “rape” of Megalonisos systematically since the 1960s – partly succeeding in 1974, with the invasion and occupation of its northern part. of Cypriot land.
Based on this plan, in his new offensive version, he manages to create accomplishments on the field, which he believes can be exploited later, when conditions allow, to “swallow” Cyprus once and for all, mutilating once again the centuries-old presence of Hellenism in this key region of Eurasia. For these reasons, Turkey does not intend to defuse the situation in the southeastern Mediterranean. Despite Germany’s “pleas”, Borrell’s “licking” of Erdogan, Trump’s mediation for dialogue and the so-called “sanctions” of the EU, Ankara is escalating the challenges, keeping the Greek naval forces on alert in area, in a war of wear and tear of the opponent. With continuous renewals of the illegal NAVTEX attempts to stabilize the rift that managed – with the tolerance, omissions and timidity of Athens – to create at the line of contact of the maritime zones of Greece and Cyprus.
On Thursday (27/8) announced a new -third in a row- commitment of a sea area, between Crete, Kastelorizo and Cyprus, “playing” with the 28th meridian, which it considers to be the backbone of its strategy, based on the theory of the “blue homeland”. This theory was created with the aim -among other things- to cut off the contact of the Cypriot Megalonisos with Greece. With the new NAVTEX, Turkey said that the research “Oruç Reis” and the accompanying “Ataman” and “Cengiz Han” will continue to conduct seismic surveys in the Mediterranean between August 27 and September 1.
According to approaches of the General Staff in Athens, this situation will continue indefinitely, until the current situation forms a satisfactory “opportunity”, according to Turkish estimates, which will be used effectively, “graying” another Greek sea area, after the “Achievements” that he believes he has achieved in the Aegean and at sea in Cyprus.
Ankara is constantly looking for this opportunity, while gaining diplomatic time as much as T. Erdogan deems necessary, for an aeronautical confrontation with Greece to be victorious for his country. At the same time, his intention is to stabilize before the international community the illegal presence of Turkey in the region. The new NAVTEX renews the pirate activities of alleged seismic surveys in the eastern Mediterranean, which were previously extended by a previous (second in a row) naval directive, from August 23rd to August 27th.
According to the relevant Turkish signal to seafarers, the illegal directive will be lifted on September 1st at 20.59 (Turkish time). The signal made public the coordinates of the area where the three Turkish vessels will be operating illegally, and the floating ships were warned to keep six nautical miles from the truncated rectangle forming the four area markings of the new NAVTEX.
In fact, the four points create a narrow and narrow sea zone exactly on the geographical line on which the sea areas of economic interest of Greece and Cyprus could touch. This is the third Turkish naval directive in a row, for investigations of the “Oruc Reis” and the two accompanying vessels in areas of the Greek continental shelf. Ankara launched the new phase of challenges four days after the signing of the Greek-Egyptian agreement on the demarcation of maritime zones in Cairo on August 6th.
NAVTEX with surgical precision
The three Turkish NAVTEX with which Ankara is trying (so far) to consolidate its presence in the region are:
1. NAVTEX 1024/20 (from 10/8 to 23/8).
The reason for this first NAVTEX is supposed to have been found by Ankara immediately after the signing of the Greek-Egyptian agreement on the EEZs. This agreement is the pretext. The naval directive for seismic surveys of the “Oruc Reis” and the accompanying vessels in an area east of Crete, west of Cyprus and south of Kastelorizo was attributed by Erdogan to the unreliability of Athens after the so-called “tripartite meeting” in Berlin with the ambassador Erdogan’s adviser, I. Kalin, in the presence of Angela Merkel’s advisor, Hecker.
The shape created by the coordinates of the occupied area served in the first phase the “flag detour” strategy of the Turkish research vessel, which sailing in the area within the predetermined period of time, in parallel with the so-called “surveys” it was to carry out, would delimit symbolically (communicatively) a large sea area within the boundaries of the “blue homeland”, which in turn has nothing to do with the search for hydrocarbons.
2. NAVTEX 1062/20 (from 23/8 to 27/8).
With this directive, Ankara sought only the extension of the previous naval directive, without any change in the coordinates of the maritime area, which was illegally blocked by the Antalya station.
3. NAVTEX 1085/20 (from 27/8 to 1/9).
The new maritime directive shows on the map a completely different picture from the previous directives, with a clear differentiation of area. Its short duration (even if it is not renewed) does not indicate intentions of substantial seismic surveys on the seabed for hydrocarbons, as the real purpose is to “impress” as a geographical area exactly at the contact points of the EEZ of Greece and Cyprus. And since no Turkish move is accidental, Ankara has taken care to frame this move with military protection. In parallel with another NAVTEX, which expires on September 2, Turkey announced aeronautical exercises with real fire east of Cyprus, outside the Gulf of Alexandretta, without irritating Greece, but with readiness and proximity of operational action in the “area of interest”.
The staff of the Greek Pentagon and the competent services of the Foreign Ministry are already analyzing the new Turkish move in all its details. Officials conclude that the coordinates released under the new Maritime Directive are by no means accidental. The new NAVTEX is “surgically” designed to overlap the sea contact between Greece and Cyprus.
Erdogan’s attempt for a military encirclement
The first cut-off zone of Cyprus was reflected in the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum signed by Erdogan with his official, the “president” of the Libyan national reconciliation government.
The sea contact of the supposedly neighboring regions of Turkey and Libya completely ignores the influence of the Greek islands of the southern Aegean in economic zones, “of course” of Kastelorizo and Crete, precisely to enable the creation of this illegal sea zone. This intention was hastily supported by foolish views, which were first expressed by Erdogan, visiting Tripoli at the end of last year, rhetorically asking: “What has Greece got to do with Libya?”
The Greek-Egyptian agreement on the maritime zones “ruined the job”, as a second similar agreement between Ankara and Cairo would create a suffocating blockade in Greece. In this sense, the Greek maritime “concessions” to Cairo, in order to curb the long-standing objections of Egypt and this friendly country (under the current regime of President Al Sisi) to agree to an agreement with Athens, were necessary until mandatory. The agreement was eventually reached, despite Turkey’s tempting proposals in Egypt, to which Ankara ceded about 30,000 to 40,000 km2, more than Egypt would have if it had entered into a comprehensive agreement with Greece, based on the Midline Principle. Athens was slow or even difficult to understand the scope of this Turkish move with Libya.
The attempt at Turkish influence in sub-Saharan Africa and the Turkish military presence in the troubled African country, which poses a direct military threat to the rear of Greece, were the first (obvious) estimates. The attempt to encircle our country militarily, with its bases in North Africa, the recent strengthening of military cooperation with the Rama regime in Albania and the planned establishment of a military base in Famagusta, Cyprus, which it illegally and pirates possesses due to circumstances, is known to Greek staffs.
The continuous strengthening of Ankara’s armaments programs, with the help of Greece’s partners in the EU. (Germany, Italy, Spain), and Erdogan’s announcements of a constant military upgrade of his country, in the rhythm of Nazi Germany on the eve of the Great War, are a source of concern to the Greek Pentagon. Let the Greek people be careful not to elect unrealistic voices in their leadership, which continue to consider armaments an unnecessary expense.
The “answers” and the war on diplomacy
With the signing of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum, Greece awoke. The first diplomatic reactions seem to have paid off, despite the apparent defeat on the field. Letters to the UN, the launch of an agreement with Italy on the delimitation of maritime zones, the hard work of concluding negotiations with Egypt on the same issue and the method of finalizing a new agreement with Albania gave a different picture to the map. There was also a military awakening, with aeronautical high schools in the area of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum and with real fire from units of the Greek Fleet. The Turkish escalation further east, with the departure of the “Oruc Reis” and the “rape” of the Greek continental shelf, completed the picture of Turkish aspirations.
Now Athens has decided not to leave unanswered the illegal Turkish moves, at all levels. With the signal of the naval station of Heraklion, Crete, Greece issued a cancellation anti-NAVTEX, warning the floating vessels that the station in Antalya has no jurisdiction to issue a naval instruction in the specific area. Athens has decided from now on not to leave any illegal Turkish action unanswered.
Shortly after the last Turkish NAVTEX, as in the previous ones, the Greek side issued an anti-NAVTEX canceling the Turkish directive… At the same time, the large-scale exercises of the Greek Navy in an area that had been almost abandoned by military plans – Cyprus on the high seas) in recent years, due to the well-known cowardice and the established belief in the diplomatic staffs that “Greece does not provoke, but only reacts when provoked”, change the scene, which until yesterday cost the country a loss of vital space , which Turkey is now trying to appropriate.
The military exercise “Eunomia”, organized with the use of the countries cooperating in the exercise (Greece, Cyprus, France, Italy), during which for the first time for the needs of the exercise by foreign forces the territory of the Republic of Cyprus was used, infuriating Ankara is the last “lesson” of the Greek Armed Forces (after the rupture of the frigate “Kemal” and the repulse of the hybrid attack on Evros) in the Turkish arrogance and arrogance.
The battle remains fierce in the diplomatic fora, with the first Greek intervention in the informal Gymnich of Berlin, which ended on Friday (27-28 / 8/2020). The next stop is the summit of the Mediterranean countries MED7, convened by the French President E. Macron in Corsica (10/9), while the forthcoming European Council on 26-27 September will be decisive for the developments.
As German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas said while welcoming his counterparts in the German capital for Gymnich, if no solution is found to the Eastern Mediterranean crisis between Greece and Turkey by then, the discussion on EU relations – Turkey will change course. Behind these words lies the serious concern of infinity in Berlin mediation that the fire that will be lit will not be easily managed. He even said this in his joint statements with N. Dendias during his visit to Athens, before going to Ankara, in a last attempt to find a ground for dialogue: “Even the smallest spark can lead to disaster.” No, however, of Greece.
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