German pressure in Athens for demilitarization of the islands
ATHENS, (BM) – Phones in the Athens-Berlin-Ankara triangle caught fire as early as last week on Friday, September 11, in order to achieve the coveted de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, to leave the “Oruc Reis” and to be able to restore the Greek-Turkish channel of exploratory contacts, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Pentapostagma.
According to the information, the announcement for the conduct of the 61st round of talks, which have been frozen since March 2016, will most likely take place in the coming days. However, their implementation (according to the schedule, in Istanbul) may follow the European Council Summit (September 24-25) in Brussels, although it is expected to take place before the end of the month.
“Bomb” by Greek media
The appearance of the German Ambassador Dr. Ernest Reichel before the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs of the Parliament was a real surprise. Not because the foreign diplomat apologized that “we can not show the greatest possible cruelty towards Turkey because if we do that we will destroy our ability to mediate.”
Not because he did not seem to understand the criticism leveled at Greece against Germany because, as he claimed, “we are not neutral” and that “at the next European Council we will address Turkey with the threat of sanctions and the threat of deteriorating relations with EU”.
The Ambassador’s position was a real surprise, because behind his words, without being obvious, of course, an initiate discerned the Chancellor’s ultimate aspirations for the Aegean.
Dr. Rachel showed with the intensity of his speech – without testifying – what is really at stake in the background. In fact, a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted that the two countries, Greece and Turkey, should “reduce their strategic footprint in the region” and therefore proceed with demilitarization. Dr. Rachel set out in Parliament Angela Merkel’s personal bet to avoid military conflict. A bet that is not limited to today but extends to tomorrow and aims to de-escalate more permanent features.
With the promotion of the old US peace plan for the demilitarization of the Aegean islands, starting with the small islands where guards and a flag were placed on the Ministry of Panos Kamenos and then with the large ones. Subject to the movement of the 3rd Turkish Army of the Aegean based in Izmir today, to the depths of Anatolia.
The information of the newspaper “Estias” is clear and specific: Berlin is simultaneously pressuring Athens and Ankara to withdraw troops, with the difference that it is one thing for the Army or the National Guard to leave our islands and islets and another for Smyrna.
And of course the following must be emphasized: The backstage pressure for de-escalation is not compatible with the backstage pressure of Berlin-Washington and other forces for an arms race and for new Greek orders. Disarmament and equipment do not go together. And yet it happens. Something that is the goal of Erdogan who for appetizer asks for the demilitarization of Pserimos, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi and Chios!
A foretaste of German demilitarization sentiments was Rachel’s rhetoric about Merkel’s interest in avoiding a military conflict.
As the German ambassador stressed, “the Chancellor considers that it is her personal affair to avoid military conflict, to escalate and to have a peaceful demarcation of the sea zones. It has had some success so far. The Orus Reic research vessel withdrew from Kastellorizo last weekend and if we succeed, we will soon move on to the next step, which is the beginning of the so-called exploratory contacts “.
In the same context of disarmament is the discussion in the NATO technical committees for the establishment of a permanent conflict prevention mechanism that concerns not the island territory, but the movement of the Armed Forces at sea and in the air. The revelation that Berlin is pushing for the demilitarization of the Aegean is finally based on the previous commitments made by the Simitis government in the context of the backstage dialogue with the United States in the past.
As “Estia” recently revealed, the Simitis government agreed to discuss or refer to The Hague the demilitarization of the Dodecanese! Her problem was methodological! According to a telegram from the then US ambassador to Athens Burns, to the State Department “Greece claims that its forces on the islands do not pose a credible threat to Turkey” although in the American view “the Greek government equipped them in violation of the Treaty” of Paris of 1947 “.
As the American diplomat reveals in his letter to the State Department, “from the point of view of the Greek side, the demilitarization of the islands may follow or be an integral part but not precede an agreement on the basic political and legal differences in the Aegean.”
The oil conflict between Turkey and Greece and their long-standing relationship
In 2020, tensions between the already long-disputed countries in the Balkans – Greece and Turkey – will escalate sharply again. The reason for this is oil fields located in specific eastern parts of the Mediterranean, which give rise to a territorial dispute between the two Balkan countries.
All this, as expected, not only led to an escalation of political speeches and attacks between Greece and Turkey, but brought the Balkans closer to a possible new war after Athens and Ankara launched a series of military exercises in the region.
At the same time, Germany is trying to play the role of a peacemaker between the Balkan countries, while France has directly decided to support Greece in its conflict with the Turks.
The mission ended with virtually no results. Then France came out on the side of Greece, sending its frigate and helicopter carrier to the Aegean Sea for joint maneuvers with the Greeks.
Note that Turkey and Greece have been at enmity for centuries. It was during the fall of Byzantium, and during the Ottoman Empire, and continues to this day. The last time these countries fought each other in 1974 in Cyprus. Turkey occupied the island after a military coup on it. After the discovery of a significant hydrocarbon reserve off the coast of Cyprus, sovereignty disputes continued.
Countries cannot share maritime economic zones. This is a Greek island located near the southern Turkish city of Antalya. Greece believes that part of this area belongs to the so-called Kastelorizo continental shelf. Turkey disputes this, claiming that the island is too small and too far from mainland Greece to make such a claim.
However, this raises new problems as it turns out that the disputed body of water separating Greece and Turkey is the apple of discord and the dispute between them. According to the Turks, the country’s continental shelf should and should be eroded from the mainland and that the territory south of the Greek island is only a few kilometers from the southern coast of Turkey. This is the logic they follow in Ankara and believe that it belongs to its exclusive zone
At the same time, Athens argues and believes that the borders of a country should be determined on the basis of the islands that surround it, and they are an integral part of defining the borders of the continental shelf. Greece makes these claims in its UN maritime law. All this gives the Greeks the exclusive right to the territory, no matter how close it is to the Turkish border. However, there is one very important fact that the Turks are using at the moment, namely that Ankara has not signed the UN law on the law of the sea, which allows it to interpret the situation differently.
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