Good old Turkish tactic. While all parties concerned are eager to see the NATO operation in the eastern Aegean Sea launching its mission, Turkey seems to put some obstacles in the operation plan of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Ankara insists on a series of issues and refuses to cooperate in one of the key aspects of the NATO operation in the region.
According to Greek daily “TA NEA”, during the meeting of the NATO Military Committee assigned to workout the operational plan last Friday, the Turkish representative was negative on the return of refugees boats back to Turkey, even of those rescued by the NATO-ships in Turkish territorial waters..
“I can not implement these things, I do not have such instructions,” the Turkish representative reportedly told the other members of the Alliance.
Two weeks ago, when the NATO operation was agreed upon a request of Turkey and Germany, Ankara had confirmed that it was willing to take back all refugees coming from the Turkish coast and captured in Turkish and international waters. It was not clear whether it would accept also refugees captured in Greek territorial waters: Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos had initially claimed that but had revised it later.
Another point where Turkey also raises objections is that NATO ships should not operate in areas that should have been demilitarized. These areas would be the sea areas around the Greek islands of the Eastern Aegean. Such a proposal by Ankara would limit the operation of NATO ships only within international waters and would therefore torpedo the whole NATO Mission.
Turkey’s objections have been reportedly confirmed by the Greek Foreign Ministry.
The Turkish representative apparently declined to answer the question “What will happen with these boats and the refugees?” – But this is not the point.
Turkey’s political and military leadership has thousands years of experience in bargain and delays of negotiations.
So I suppose, Ankara would need to see the 3 billion euro in cash first, as promised by the European Union, and then reconsider….? I may be wrong. or right.
PS I “see” before me: NATO ships capturing refugees boats in international waters and not knowing what to do with them.