Turkey-Greece tensions  TRT Romanian

President Erdogan’s messages to Greece and his call for Greece to abandon arming non-military islands during last week’s Ephesus 2022 show that Turkey considers the issue important and will take a clearer stance in Greece. this context. This process shows that there is a new tension in Turkey-Greece relations and is a turning point.

Article by the Director of the Department for Foreign Policy Research of the SETA Foundation Murat Yeșiltaș

There is no single reason why the issue of arming the islands has become the main topic on the agenda, the process has gradually developed. The fact that Greece has chosen to maintain its illegal attitudes and maximalist policies in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean has in fact triggered the process. Athens undertook new movements in the Eastern Mediterranean, acting with a broad anti-Turkey front and also using the conjuncture; these moves have received a clear response from Ankara, and as a result of tensions in 2020, Greece has had to take a step back. Turkey, on the other hand, sent NAVTEX messages first to the Eastern Mediterranean and therefore to the Aegean Sea during this period, emphasizing the violation of the non-military status of the islands and began to bring this issue to the forefront at the diplomatic level.

Two factors highlighted the issue and turned it into the main agenda. The first factor – the aggressive steps that Greece has recently taken. In fact, on the one hand, Greece has signed a defense pact with France and extended the indefinite military cooperation agreement with the United States and made a large number of military bases available to the United States. On the other hand, the country has engaged in an aggressive and excessive arms policy and has tried to include these islands in NATO and other countries ‘exercises in order to perpetuate and legitimize the violation of the islands’ non-military status. Political and consultative talks with Turkey continued during that period, but the fact that Mitsotakis did not hesitate to hide his anti-Turkey steps politically, metaphorically speaking, was the last straw.

The second factor is related to the increase in Turkey’s diplomatic and military activity. Turkey, which in recent years has faced serious challenges simultaneously on various fronts, has responded effectively to them and made significant gains. Ankara’s room for maneuver has expanded with its unique moves during the crisis in Ukraine.

In this context, the possibility that Greece will benefit from its recent actions risks creating new challenges for Turkey. For this reason, it seems that maintaining the non-military status of the islands as a proactive and efficient movement has become the main topic on the bilateral relations agenda.

It seems too early to produce a scenario of military conflict or war in the Turkey-Greece tension. However, it is clear that Turkey will not be as patient with the illegal measures that Greece has taken or will take in the Aegean Sea and elsewhere, especially arming the islands. In this context, it is clear that Turkey will increase its diplomatic, political and military pressure against these illegal measures. The course of developments will be largely shaped by the steps that Greece will take from now on.

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