Greece, Egypt & France Align Against Turkish Moves in East Med [Video]

ER Editor: Turkey has once again sent oil and gas research/drilling vessels, accompanied by military ones, into waters claimed by Greece, ostensibly to expand its oil and gas explorations (see map below). This mainly affects waters around the island of Cyprus, as well as the section of water between Cyprus and Crete (to the far left of Cyprus on the map). Greece, meanwhile, has not only signed an agreement with Italy, but also Egypt – which has put Turkey on the back foot. Alexander Mercouris explains the current dynamics …

  • It’s all one story: Erdogan is being aggressive over expanding Turkish influence in the Eastern Med. Greeks are reacting by positioning their own ships next to Turkish ships and watching closely. Both sides are strengthening their legal and diplomatic positions, with Greece agreeing the boundaries of its economic zone (EEZ) with Egypt, which is a major military power in the region (Turkey used to be a colonial power in Egypt about which Egyptians have strong feelings). Egypt and Greece have good historic relations, so Greece is consolidating its relations with Egypt and strengthening its EEZ with Egypt. Greece thus appears to be acting LEGALLY, whereas Turkey is not. 
  • So why is Erdogan doing what he’s doing? He’s playing cat and mouse. He sends in a ship, gets a reaction, then pulls back. Then he comes back again, sending in his drilling ships again, supposedly looking for oil and gas. But nobody should be surprised that this is more about staking territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean sea than it is about drilling for oil. Erdogan knows that while Egypt supports Greece, the EU hasn’t been so strong in its support for Greece (ER: Macron has just sent in planes and a frigate into the region today according to Zerohedge today: France Deploys Jets, Warship To East Mediterranean Amid Turkey Gas Tensions.) 
  • Chrifostofou: Greece has always tried to work with the EU to condemn Turkey, etc. It’s always the same story, where the EU always does NOTHING to help Greece and won’t go against Turkey. But France might, or even Italy. Greece is now making an excellent move by aligning itself with Egypt. They’re natural allies. And Turkey is a natural adversary. Turkey created a fake EEZ with Libya – it was Erdogan’s only move. Or he threatens the EU with migrants, which he has done from time to time. Those are his only two plays, whereas Greece has now used the Egypt card, which has given Greece a lot of leverage.
  • Mercouris: Turkey has played its cards much more strongly historically again Greece. The new PM of Greece, Mitsotakis (pictured), however, is a much stronger adversary. The Germans are nervous over this situation – they never stand up to Erdogan, whereas France is not nervous – Macron doesn’t get on with Erdogan and is now playing a major role in the Mediterranean area, such as with Lebanon recently. Greece needs Egyptian support, and now French. Mitsotakis also called Putin. These are all good moves in a situation where the EU never comes to Greece’s aid. With Egypt, France and maybe Russia on side, Erdogan now has a strong array of countries ranged against him.
  • The EEZ that Erdogan arranged with Libya (see map below) is unenforceable because these coastal waters are controlled by Greece and Italy. Therefore, it means nothing.
  • Will Putin be convinced by Greece to finally deal with Erdogan and his erratic behaviour in areas that affect Russia? Christoforou: Putin has been weak in his dealings with Erdogan. Mercouris: the Russians ARE persuadable, but Putin and Erdogan don’t want to break from each other. There is some room to manoeuvre here for Russia. There is a pro-Turkish lobby inside the Kremlin according to John Helmer; Russia’s interests ARE served by keeping Erdogan somewhat confined. But if you give Erdogan too much rope, he takes it (invading Syria against Russia, shooting down Russian planes, shooting the Russian ambassador). Russia has benefitted from its relations with Turkey historically (e.g. building of Turkstream pipeline); but now, Russia needs Turkey less. And historically, there are cultural connections and sympathies between Greece and Russia, which is something to build on. The friendship between Turkey and Russia has been a recent thing and not very substantial. Erdogan is now giving Russia less and less for its relationship with him, especially as he is preventing peace in Syria.

Update from Zerohedge: Turkey “Responded” To “Attack” On Gas Exploration Ship In Contested Waters: Erdogan.

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Greece, Egypt & France align against Turkish moves in East Med. (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 628

ALEX CHRISTOFOROU

Via Ekathimerini (https://www.ekathimerini.com/255825/gallery/ekathimerini/news/greece-welcomes-french-boost-as-tension-rises-in-east-med)…

Greece’s prime minister warmly thanked France Thursday for boosting its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek and Turkish warships are closely shadowing each other over a Turkish energy exploration bid in waters Athens claims as its own.

Meanwhile, Turkey accused Greece and the island nation of Cyprus of encroaching on its rights in the Mediterranean and vowed to defend its interests in the region but also called for dialogue to resolve the dispute.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted that French President Emmanuel Macron was “a true friend of Greece and also a fervent protector of European values and international law.”

The mounting territorial tension follows Turkey’s move to send a seismic research vessel, escorted by warships, into waters between the Greek island of Crete and Cyprus to prospect for potential offshore gas and oil reserves, following similar discoveries in other parts of the region.

Greece claims part of the area is over its own continental shelf and has demanded that the Turkish ships withdraw. Turkey counters that it’s entitled to conduct research in the area. Greece placed its military on alert, and sent warships to the area off Turkey’s southern coast.


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