ATHENS – More provocations from Turkey, even belligerent talk renewing fears of a potential conflict in a dispute over the seas has Greek officials on edge and wondering what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s next move will be.
Relations between the countries are entering uncharted and rougher waters and bringing a lot of uncertainty, said Kathimerini about the worry in Greece after Erdogan said he would again send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands.
With Turkey’s economy crumbling, Erdogan jailing his major rival, the European Union fumbling about over how to deal with him and Greece lying back and trying diplomacy, the recipe is there for him to strike out to distract Turks from their troubles.
The paper said that the anxiety has spilled over outside the countries, with NATO – the defense alliance to which both belong refusing to intervene over Turkish violations of Greek airspace and waters – and the United States in the middle.
While the US has renewed a military pact with Greece and wants to add bases in the country, Washington wants to keep ties with Turkey where there is also an American military presence.
There’s also the question of whether Erdogan will, as he warned, unleash more refugees and migrants on the European Union through Greece, although Turkey is supposed to contain them under an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal.
With Germany having a new government, Greece is also said to be looking to sway that country into not continuing to back Turkey, which is a major buyer of German weapons. Germany also has 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage and under Chancellor Angela Merkel blocked Greece’s call for sanctions on Turkey.