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Tension in the Aegean: Turks point guns at Greek Coast Guard; FM briefs EU on Turkey’s “delinquent behavior”

Tension has risen again in the Aegean Sea, when Turkish coast guards pointed their guns to their Greek colleagues in the sea area off the island of Farmakonisi on Sunday night. Τhe incident took place as a possible meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkei President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias briefed his EU counterparts of “Turkish delinquent behavior.”

Athens submitted a protest note to Ankara over the incident in Farmakonisi, where a Turkish Coast Guard vessel sailed to the edge of the territorial waters, stayed there for 13 minutes and at some point, the crew pointed with their guns at the men a Greek Coast Guard boat patrolling in the area.

Meanwhile in New York, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias briefed the European Union Foreign Ministers about the latest cases of Turkish delinquent behavior during a discussion held on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly.

Citing diplomatic sources, state-run news agency amna reported that Dendias focused on the unacceptable action of a Turkish warship, which disturbed a vessel conducting scientific research within the demarcated Greek continental shelf.

He stressed that the Maltese-flagged research vessel “Nautical Geo” was located just 10 nautical miles east of Crete in a sea area bordered by the Greek-Egyptian agreement of August 6, 2020.

Dendias pointed out that the Turkish behavior has now gone beyond any framework of logic and in no way is in line with the image of “normality” that Turkey wants to promote. As he commented, this is an image that unfortunately has nothing to do with reality.

There has been sheer confusion over a possible meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan in New York, after the latter said on Sunday that he accepted the Greek request. Right on Monday morning, the Greek side dismissed that there was such a request but did not rule it out.

Confusion was also created when the FM announced over the weekend a sharp demarche to Ankara over the harassment of the Nautical Geo, but on Monday an older demarche on “illegal fishing of Turkish fishermen in the Aegean” was given to media.

PS Currently, there seems to be some kind of disagreement within the ruling New Democracy on how to proceed with neighboring Turkey. The PM is under pressure in the aftermath of the August wildfires and the price hikes and needs a ‘success’ achievement even if with Turkey. At the same time, his potential successors within ND, among them also the FM, are preparing the ground for the after-Mitsotakis era.

One colleague told me on Monday that “the PM’s PR team is at the end of their creativity on how to boost the PM’s image” and speculated that  they want “the Turks to get on their knees and beg for a meeting and present it as victory.”

 

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2 comments

  1. Boost the PMs image? Now that is funny.

  2. The EU (more specifically Germany) and the US (to maintain its NATO inspirations) can not neglect a by far more stern response to Turkey’s increasingly unlawful behavior. Not for interests sake, this is unprincipled.

    History reflects how challenges would remain, even if enabling a more subtle Turkish leader (as the west so passionately embarrassingly hopes for). The condemnation of Cyprus’ illegal invasion and occupation, for example, is already decades old. All this has done is emboldened a so called partner to undermined NATO by purchasing weapons from its adversary.

    One might think that the time for change is well overdue than suppressed to increasingly embolden unlawful provocation.

    Also. what precedent does this set to other nations when power and self interest dictates unlawful outcome to forsake principles and morality?

    Either this emboldened increasingly defiant Turkey is addressed or, as we can see with today’s endless provocations and piracy, even greater problems will ultimately continue to escalate.

    Imagine if alliances were formed in an equally bizarre fashion in the future to dramatically alter the balance of current global power as a result! We are already witnessing changes by other autocratic nations like N. Korea, China, and Russia after a very bad man with no capabilities was given the reigns to to run the most powerful country on earth.

    Change requires a radical bravery that Greeks have ALWAYS taught the west in ethics and morality and not some bizarre insanity or scared weakness to facilitate this unlawfulness in my view.