New data in Greek-Turkish relations are provoked by Ankara’s constant provocation, even with upgraded episodes in the middle of the corona’s pandemic.
Although many expected Turkey to “export” the economic impasse and failures of the Erdogan government, the challenges of recent days have been a source of great concern.
Sunday’s incident in the Aegean, when Turkish F-16s harassed the helicopter carrying Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and General Staff Chief General Konstantinos Floros to islands in the Eastern Aegean, is indicative.
And then comes the firing of Turkish soldiers in Evros at the expense of the multinational force that monitors the borders.
Yesterday, according to “NEA”, the political and military leadership of “Pentagon” accompanied by ASDEN staff had scheduled visits to outposts in the area of responsibility of 96 ADTE (Oinousses), 79 ADTE (Agathonisi) and 80 ADTE (Pharmakonisi). The new episode of Turkish aggression took place shortly after 11.30 am when the Greek NH-90 helicopter was taking off from Oinousses. Then, at 11.38, a pair of Turkish F-16 aircraft initially flew over Oinousses at 3,500 feet. Then the Turkish planes continued their provocative plan, flying very close to the Greek helicopter.
The proximity of the Turkish F-16s was clear from the photos taken by Greek officers from the helicopter’s windows. A few minutes later, Turkish fighters flew over Agathonisi, at a very low altitude of just 500 meters. After 4 at noon, there was a new barrage of 12 overflights in Farmakonisi, Agathonisi, Lipsi and Arkius.
This is not the first time that helicopters carrying Greek officials to remote islands have been targeted and harassed by Turkish fighters. Last year, for example, a Turkish F-16 harassed a helicopter carrying then-Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Agathonisi on March 25th. However, the fact that this practice of Ankara continues in combination with its insistence on maintaining the provocation in Evros and in the Aegean with the 268 overflights – an inconceivable number – strongly concerns the “Pentagon”.
According to the report of “NEON”, the Ministry of Defense estimates that at this stage the leadership of Turkey does not show any disposition for de-escalation and change of attitude. It is certain that the corona and the financial problems in the neighbour have also affected its operational capabilities. However, it is clear that Ankara seeks to show – using even fewer means of provocation – that it will continue to make steady claims in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek officials also do not rule out that the ongoing offensive and in many cases “spasmodic behaviour” of the Turks is due to the fact that their plans in Evros and the Aegean with the Immigration failed.
And in Evros
In Evros, the Turks are still provocative, as the three incidents of gunfire from their barracks last week in the Tychero area showed. On Tuesday, a Turkish soldier fired at a German Frontex patrol on the Greek-Turkish border. And on Thursday night there was a double challenge: members of the Turkish military guard moved by boat from the Turkish side to the Greek shortly before 10 pm and fired into the air in bursts. In fact, they launched a flare that landed on the Greek side. At midnight, a member of the Turkish military guard reopened fire in the air. In all cases, the Greek side faced the challenges calmly, as the readiness of the Greek Armed Forces at the border remains high. “It simply came to our notice then. We said that for us the alarm does not end. The border security measures are simply being intensified and the work is continuing, “said Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos (Theme FM) about the shootings in Evros.
However, another element that shows that Turkey’s intention is not to back down and restore at any time its constant claims and allegations are the Navtex that issued, asking Greece not to conduct exercises on a number of islands. He claims that the exercises in Samothrace, Agios Efstratios, Psara, Lesvos, Lemnos violate the “demilitarized regime of these islands” and the Treaty of Lausanne. And all this at a time when the Turkish Ministry of Defense is “advertising” an exercise of its Navy that took place on 27-28 / 4 with amphibious boats and landing operations.
It is obvious that Turkey is pushing for the creation of operations in the Aegean in order to push for the demilitarization of islands but also for co-operation.
Operation Blue Homeland is underway with ongoing challenges and the presentation of maps they want to consolidate.
It is recalled that recently the Turks challenged Greece’s right to exercise on five islands.
In particular, with three provocative anti-ANVTEX issues issued yesterday by the Izmir station, Ankara is trying to “prohibit” Greece from conducting naval exercises in Samothrace, Lemnos, Psarra, Lesvos and the wider area around these islands.
In fact, the “argument” invoked by the neighbouring country is that the exercises in these areas violate the Treaty of Lausanne!
Of course, the fact that they see Pserimos in Turkish territorial waters goes unnoticed.
According to the Liberal, which also published maps, Ankara is updating with maps depicting the “Blue Homeland” claiming responsibility for the exercise of responsibilities in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, drawing “lines” that divide the Aegean into operational and operational and define Turkish west of Crete and Rhodes.
It includes in its demand for demilitarization and islands for which there is no reference to any conventional text but also islands belonging to the… The Cyclades, while updating with maps depicting the “Blue Homeland” its claims for exercising responsibilities in the Aegean and Mediterranean pulling “lines” that operationally divide the Aegean and define Turkish zones of responsibility up to the west of Crete and Rhodes.
A map includes Thassos and Ai Strati, considering that the obligation was provided by the Declaration of the 6 Great Powers in 1914, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Lausanne 1923. However, with the difference that nowhere is there an explicit reference to either Thassos or Ai Strati.
However, the Turkish Foreign Minister in the same map, completely arbitrarily, hastens to include in the islands of the Dodecanese, which he claims is a destabilizing regime, Santorini, Amorgos and Anafi.