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Analysis: Who killed Pavlos Fyssas?

The murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas was blamed on the far-right Golden Dawn, but was it the “extreme center” which benefited politically?




Following the murder of the alleged anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, multiple MPs and members of the far-right Golden Dawn have been on trial, in a process which has been ongoing for nearly five years. The Greek state is out to prove the criminal responsibility of Golden Dawn in the murder. This can be interpreted in one of two ways.
The first interpretation is that those in power who presided over economic genocide and the deaths by suicide of over 20,000 Greeks and the emigration of over 500,000 more, are attempting to gain democratic credentials by prosecuting “the fascists.”
The second interpretation is that Golden Dawn was responsible for the murder and sought to gain political power via the medium of armed street protests in the dying days of the Antonis Samaras government, a regime which was rocked with political and economic instability.

The mother of slain rapper Pavlos Fyssas, at the trial of Golden Dawn members.

What follows are three sets of documents from that period. The first is the testimony of Pavlos Fyssas’ girlfriend, who was present at the scene when Fyssas was stabbed by a man by the name of Giorgos Roupakias, paid member in good standing of Golden Dawn. The second is a transcript of a television interview given by Fyssas’ parents, and the third is an article by the far-leftist journalist Giorgos Delastik, who was fired by the Ethnos daily newspaper for writing this piece.

Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias, the self-confessed killer of Pavlos Fyssas.

The context in which this murder occurred was the electoral rise and growth in popularity (as seen in public opinion polls) of Golden Dawn, at a time when the coalition government of New Democracy under Antonis Samaras and PASOK under Evangelos Venizelos was on the rocks. At around this time, it was revealed that Samaras fixer called Panagiotis (Takis) Baltakos was in negotiations with Golden Dawn for the latter to support and/or join the New Democracy-led government. Upon their refusal however, a different course of action was unleashed. This was the period when Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris released secret videos in parliament showing Baltakos conducting such negotiations on behalf of Samaras. With the killing of Pavlos Fyssas, Samaras commenced legal proceedings against Golden Dawn and started to provisionally imprison its members and MPs.

Secret recording of Baltakos:

Who was Fyssas really? From both of interviews of those closest to him, it appears he was not a political individual. The subsequent rallies in his support which were held internationally followed the pattern of the previous murder of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos in December 2008. This time though, instead of the “evil state” it was the evil …retro-nazis (of the third reich) whilst those of the fourth reich (Merkel’s supporters, i.e. PASOK and New Democracy) remained unscathed.
After all, Samaras remained in power by utilizing junta-era laws via the court martialing of striking workers, effectively outlawing strikes. Via the murder of Fyssas and then of two young Golden Dawn members, the state managed to promote the concept of the so-called “two extremes,” meaning those of the “extreme” right and the “extreme” left, whilst the oh-so-democratic center was simply trying to… govern.
If one is to accept that the murder of Fyssas was organised by the ruling clique that runs Golden Dawn, then by implication SYRIZA or the Communist Party (KKE) organized the murder of the two Golden Dawn members which followed. To accept one without accepting the other is absurd, but then again no political murders in Greek history have occurred on the basis of any known logic. They have served the political ends of the deep state, which has at its disposal many centers of power and influence. One only needs to be reminded of the cases of George Polk, Stefanos Sarafis, and Giorgos Lambrakis to understand that murders in Greece usually serve political ends.
What follows are three documents regarding the case: the testimony of Fyssas’ girlfriend as to what transpired on the night of his murder, a transcription of the interview of Fyssas’ parents on Greek television, and the aforementioned article by journalist Giorgos Delastik which led to his dismissal.
Like all previous political murders in Greece, who actually committed the crime and who will be penalized for it are probably unrelated. In the cold war era of the 1950s it was always communists who were found guilty. In the post cold war world era, it is the retro-fascists of the 1950s. The “extreme center” always remains unscathed…
Testimony of Pavlos Fyssas’ Girlfriend
The statement:

I am the girlfriend of Pavlos Fyssas. We were together for 2.5 years. This is a statement I have not previously provided, as no one called me despite providing my phone number to a police woman. With Pavlos we visited the house of our friend at 7.30 pm of the night of 17th of September [2013]. At around 8.15 pm we wanted to see where we could sit and follow the Olympiacos football match. For no apparent reason we stopped at “Koralli” and spoke to the person in charge and we asked for a table for three people to watch the match. We then went around the area and returned to “Koralli” at 9.30 pm. At some point whilst we were watching the match I heard our friend “D” state loudly “better I had a worm as a friend instead of a Golden Dawn supporter.” I don’t know if other people heard it besides us, but none of us continued this discussion. Pavlos was focused on the match.
At the same time, a gentleman came to our direction, dark looking with a colorful outfit, and told us to leave the area as trouble was about to start. We couldn’t comprehend for what reason there would be trouble nor could we understand why the gentleman wanted us to leave the cafeteria. I did not hear him state he was a policeman. As he continuously insisted on telling us to leave, telling us these characters were Golden Dawn and were angry, we decided to take some beers to Pavlos’ house or to go to “Vlaherna” near the church and wait for the dust to settle. Our friend “D” told the owner of the shop something like “German offspring who killed our families.” I told Pavlos to get his things together as they might hear us and a real fight might occur and Pavlos told him “shut up and lets go.”
Just after the second half of the game, our friends ‘”X,” “P,” and “D” came and found us in the cafeteria plus and another lad I don’t really know, “M” and his girlfriend “N.” We all sat together. I didn’t hear anything in particular being said by the lads anyway, as our group was big and there was noise in the club and something could have been said that not all of us heard. When the match finished and we went out so as to decide what to do, the person in charge of the shop told us to not make any noise. I don’t know why he said that, but he showed us some people who had gathered in the corner of Pavlou Mela and Kefallllinias Streets opposite “Koralli.” I then saw three people. I didn’t see them very well. All I know was that they were wearing black and they were making spasmodic movements.
We started moving away from “Koralli” café towards Tsaldari street. When we reached the corner of Tsaldaris and Kefallinias, we put our friend “X” into a taxi as he didn’t feel well. At that moment, we saw four or five motorbikes of DIAS [the rapid reaction police units]. There were two officers on each one. They saw us and turned and went towards “Koralli.” Before they went there, they stopped at a group of around 15 black hooded men who were at that spot. I didn’t see if they were talking. The police had stopped fully but had not formed a circle around them. They were all there casually together as if they were a group. Some police got off their bikes and took their helmets off. At that moment the character came over to us. He seemed angry that we hadn’t already left. Pavlos told him he wants to be able to walk freely in his part of town and under all conditions, and that we have to return to collect the car of our friends which we have left there.
From the moment we saw the police we were calm and we continued walking, passing opposite the pavement of Tsaldaris Street. Then Pavlos said to take the girl who was with us and to go to the house to find us.
The other people in the group had already gone up further Tsaldaris street towards the direction of Lambraki street. They went to a kiosk to buy beers. Suddenly, in Kefallinias street, around seven or eight people who were around 35 to 40 years old appeared, wearing black clothes, some with shaven heads and some without. I didn’t see them holding something in their hands. With loud voices they started moving in our direction, towards the boys in the group. Then I turned around to see what was happening.
I realized they were moving towards the boys and I ran to the police at Kefallinias Street. I screamed at them that our friends are in danger and pleaded with them to come. I remember characteristically a policeman who was tall and very well built with a square face stating “we cant do anything, there are too many of them.” Only one policewoman came to my direction and a young policeman who came by foot towards where our friends were in danger. I also went towards the area where Pavlos was.
I don’t know what the two policemen did next, as that is when I saw Pavlos had been stabbed… whilst I was almost hysterical and pulled the police from their jackets to come and help, a well built man came very close to my face and told me “you brought your poof to my shop.” This man had a few grey hairs, was well built and was over 40. This is a man I think I had seen in a video uploaded on YouTube in conflicts that Golden Dawn had started at a market stall in Messolongi.
Now when according to what I stated everything had ended, Pavlos had been stabbed. He was standing tall, was holding his chest and stating he had been stabbed. He showed in the direction of the perpetrator. I didn’t see the murderer, I only saw a silver car. As an ambulance came and got Pavlos, a policeman came towards me, the one I had described previously, the well built one, and asked for my ID. When I asked him why he didn’t do anything alongside all the others and just watched, he pretended he just arrived at the scene and wasn’t to be found there. I can’t imagine any reason why they wanted to kill Pavlos. I think that it was a cold and unconscionable attack that happened for no reason.

The interview of Fyssas’ parents on television

Part A:

Part B:

Part C:

At around 13:00 (Part A) both parents dispute the claim that Pavlos was “politicised” and had engaged in “intense antifascist activity.” His father said: “[m]any years ago he might have passed through the KKE or PASOK, I don’t actually know, but in recent years he didn’t even go to vote, he wasn’t involved at all…”
At 9:35 (Part B) came the following statement: “I want to see whether they will ever arrest those responsible.”
At 10:25 (Part B) Stavros Theodorakis (a former television personality who is now the leader of the Potami political party) asked if Pavlos loved the migrants. His mother replied, “[i]t hurt him to hear that they are being chased or being killed. The same when he heard migrants killed Greeks. In particular [Manolis] Kantaris, whose wife was just about to give birth and migrants killed him…”
At the start of part C, when Theodorakis asked “Who is guilty? The man who held the knife?” came the following response: “He who held the knife is an idiot. The issue is who gave him the knife? The knife is held by those who exploit people who live on the backs of others? They are dirty with bad minds…”
At 1:40 (Part C), Fyssas’ father is more concrete. When asked what he seeks from justice, he replied: “I want them to find the real guilty party. They played a game. A murder had to be committed and our child just happened to be on the streets…”
Finally, at 3:35 (Part C), Fyssas’ mother states: “My child was murdered by a professional…”

Article by Giorgos Delastik: The EU, New Democracy and PASOK threaten democracy

Did the Golden Dawn murderer, this human scum who killed in the middle of the road the leftist antifascist Pavlos Fissas in Amfiali, act on his own behalf or was he carrying out orders? If he was carrying out orders, from which political quarters did these orders originate? Or did they come from business circles? We won’t become police detectives to answer. We will monitor – with extreme caution with regards to what the police claim is the truth – the development of the police report to formulate a final conclusion of the events.
But the crime is clearly political. We will add a few political thoughts around this. Even for the most cold, vile political crimes, the first components of any analysis start from the question: “Who benefits politically from the crime?” They who benefit aren’t always the guilty ones, as in politics the consequences of a murder can be different from what those who planned it initially judged. From a political perspective (we emphasize, from a political and not a police perspective, as events can be proven which contradict political speculation) it’s very difficult for someone to proclaim that the order for a murder was given by the leading, first rank members of the party to which the perpetrator belonged, except if these leading members were being blackmailed by other elements. Golden Dawn sustained serious political damage with the murder which was carried out. From initially appearing as a party that expressed social rage and the desperation of the politically backward right wing circles, particularly those who voted against the troika policies of both New Democracy and PASOK, after the murder and the attacks against members of the KKE and KNE [Communist youth] in Perama it now appears as a party wanting to”‘murder the left”! The reduction of the electoral approval of Golden Dawn after the murder of P. Fyssas must be considered a given.
The left in all of its permutations won’t gain anything from these events and neither will the movement. A murder always provokes fear, whether one admits to it or not. We mean fear to the people, not the leaders. It’s another matter to demonstrate and an another matter to be threatened by knife-wielding thugs. The only ones who gain from this murder are the Samaras-Venizelos government. This is exactly like what happened in the case of the [the firebombing of] Marfin Bank. Whilst the whole of Greece was on strike against the government, the murder ended up getting all the Greeks to talk about the murder carried out by the beastly Golden Dawn member. Swiftly after the murder, the current “Tsolakoglous” [referring to the quisling prime minister Giorgos Tsolakoglou of the World War II period) in New Democracy and PASOK are now promoting themselves as the guarantors of preventing the civil war between the two extremes! From a political point of view, the murder was a “golden gift” for Samaras and Venizelos! They rushed to politically exploit the murder. We must further note that the manner in which the murderer acted made a big impression on us. He carried out a murder in the center of Amfiali with dozens of witnesses without even attempting with a motorcycle helmet to hide his face. He didn’t even attempt to leave. He left the knife used to commit the murder with his own fingerprints on them, at the scene. All of this happened even though he was universally known in Amfiali, as was his political orientation.
This approach belies a man who commits a murder in order to get caught, to be sentenced to life imprisonment and to be jailed for many years. He has full knowledge that the crime will be blamed on the political grouping he belongs to, Golden Dawn. We aren’t pretending to be the police inspector Clouseau, but this stance more clearly reflects a murderer who is carrying out orders, not a brute acting on his own accord. Such actions also drastically reduce the possibility that the murderer had received his orders from business circles instead of political circles. The political positions adopted by Samaras and Venizelos following the murder of the 34 year old antifascist artist are provoking ire. What did the prime minister tell us via his close collaborator Chrysanthos Lazaridis, who wouldn’t have been able to make such statements without the permission of Samaras? That the murder demonstrates that SYRIZA remains outside the “constitutional axis”!!! This is Samaras’ position! What did Venizelos tell us? He declared on Vima FM that “the problem isn’t the theory of extremes, the problem is that inside the amalgam of the so-called “anti-memorandum axis” there exist forces that are far right, Nazi, traditionally communist, and of course newly radicalized”! In other words, because both the murderer and victim were “anti-memorandum,” the problem according to Venizelos is that the those who are “anti-memorandum” are killing each other!
These views by both Samaras and Venizelos aren’t just ridiculous. The most serious issue for us is that for now there are many doubts emerging as to whether this murderer acted on his own or if he carried out orders from other centers of power unknown to us, distinct from the leadership of Golden Dawn. We shall see…

Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou



Via RT

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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Greece: “Humanitarian Aid” Organization’s People-Smuggling

Greek NGO evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece.

The Duran



Authored by Maria Polizoidou of Gatestone Institute:

  • Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) describes itself as a “Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis….” It has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “nonprofit” with half a billion euros per year.
  • ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition).
  • With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its refugee crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them.

Migrants arrive at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey in a rubber dinghy, on August 15, 2015. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

On August 28, thirty members of the Greek NGO Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were arrested for their involvement in a people-smuggling network that has been operating on the island of Lesbos since 2015. According to a statement released by Greek police, as a result of the investigation that led to the arrests, “The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed.”

Among the activities uncovered were forgery, espionage and the illegal monitoring of both the Greek coastguard and the EU border agency, Frontex, for the purpose of gleaning confidential information about Turkish refugee flows. The investigation also led to the discovery of an additional six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals implicated in the case.

ERCI describes itself as:

“[A] Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis. ERCI’s philosophy is to identify the gaps of humanitarian aid and step in to assist in the most efficient and impactful manner. Currently ERCI has 4 active programs working with refugees in Greece in the areas of Search and Rescue, Medical, Education and Refugee Camp Coordination.”

In spite of its stated mission and non-profit profile, however, ECRI — according to Greek authorities, has earned considerable sums of money from its serving as a conduit for illegal activities. ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition). ERCI has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “non-profit” with half a billion euros per year.

This revelation, however, does not begin to cover the extent of the illegal activities surrounding the entry of migrants into Greece. In 2017, for instance, Greek authorities arrested 1,399 people-smugglers, some under the cover of “humanitarian” operations; and during the first four months of 2018, authorities arrested 25,594 illegal immigrants.

More worrisome than the literally steep price paid to people-smugglers by the immigrants themselves — or that doled out by the Greek government in the form of integration subsidies — is the toll the situation is taking on Greek society as a whole.

According to Greek police statistics, there were 75,707 robberies and burglaries reported in 2017. Of these cases only 15,048 were solved, and 4,207 were committed by aliens. In addition, the police estimate that more than 40% of serious crimes were committed by illegal immigrants. (Legal and illegal immigrants in Greece make up 10-15% of the total population.)

In 2016, Greek prisons reportedly contained 4,246 Greeks and 5,221 foreigners convicted of serious crimes: 336 for homicide; 101 for attempted homicide; 77 for rape; and 635 for robbery. In addition, thousands of cases are still pending trial.

In a recent heart-wrenching case on August 15, a 25-year-old college student from Athens — on a visit home from his studies at a university in Scotland — was murdered by three illegal immigrants while he was out touring the city with a female friend from Portugal.

The three perpetrators, two Pakistanis and an Iraqi ranging in age from 17 to 28, told police that they first attacked the young woman, stealing money, credit cards, a passport and a cell phone from her purse, but when they realized that her phone was “old,” they went for the young man’s phone, threatening him with a knife. When he tried to fend them off, they said in their confession, they shoved him and he fell off a cliff to his death. After the interrogation, it transpired that the three killers were wanted for 10 additional robberies in the area.

In an angry letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, members of parliament and the mayor of Athens, the mother of the victim accused Tsipras of “criminal negligence” and “complicity” in her son’s murder.

“Instead of welcoming and providing “land and water” to every criminal and dangerous individual with savage instincts,” she wrote, “should the state not think first of the safety of its own citizens, whose blood it drinks daily [economically]? [Should the state] abandon [its citizens] to ravenous gangs, for whom the worth of a human life has less meaning than the value of a cell phone or a gold chain?”

Although those were the words of a grieving mother, they are sentiments widely felt and expressed throughout Greece, where such incidents are increasingly common.

On August 29, two weeks after that murder, six immigrants in northern Greece verbally assaulted a 52-year-old man on the street, apparently for no reason. When he ignored them and kept walking, one of them stabbed him in the shoulder blade with a 24-cm (9.4-inch) knife, landing him in the hospital.

Two days earlier, on August 27, approximately 100 immigrants, protesting the living conditions in their camp in Malakasa, blocked the National Highway for more than three hours. Drivers stuck on the road said that some of the protestors went on a rampage, bashing cars with blocks of wood. To make matters worse, police on the scene said that they had not received instructions from the Ministry of Citizen Protection to clear the highway or protect the victims. Gatestone was told upon further queries, that there was no official statement from the police or the ministry, just the drivers’ statements.

With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its migrant crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them. The recent arrest of ERCI members underscores the need to scrutinize all such organizations.

Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece. She has a post-graduate degree in “Geopolitics and Security Issues in the Islamic complex of Turkey and Middle East” from the University of Athens.

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Turkey’s Latest Power Grab: A Naval Base In Cyprus?

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them… Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.” — Lawrence A. Franklin.

The Duran



Authored by Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestone Institute:

  • The possibility of a Turkish naval base on Cyprus does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks, which were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Turkey’s Naval Forces Command has “submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” according to Turkey’s strongly pro-Erdogan daily, Yeni Safak, which recently endorsed the proposal for the base in an article entitled, “Why Turkey should establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus.”

“The base will enable the protection of Northern Cyprus’ sovereignty as well as facilitate and fortify Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, preventing the occupation of sea energy fields, and strengthening Turkey’s hand in the Cyprus peace process talks.”

Having a naval base in northern Cyprus would also strengthen the self-proclaimed “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which is recognized only by Turkey. Cyprus is strategically important: a naval base there would give Turkey easier access to the Eastern Mediterranean’s international trade routes and greater control over the vast undersea energy resources around Cyprus. In the past, Turkey has blocked foreign vessels from drilling for these resources; in June, Turkey began its own exploration of the island’s waters for gas and oil.

This is not the first time that Turkey has set its sights on the area’s resources. In 2014, Ankara dispatched surveillance vessels and warships to Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to search for hydrocarbons. This incident took place just before the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt deepened their an energy-cooperation, “freezing Turkey out.” As soon as the accord was signed, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades blasted “Turkey’s provocative actions,” saying that they “do not just compromise the peace talks [between Greek and Turkish Cypriots]… [but] also affect security in the eastern Mediterranean region.”

At the time, UN-brokered reunification negotiations, which had been renewed after a long hiatus, ended unsuccessfully yet again, as a result of Turkey’s search for hydrocarbons in the EEZ. According to a November 2014 report in the Guardian:

“Turkey’s decision to dispatch a research vessel into disputed waters last month not only resulted in talks being broken off but has exacerbated the row over drilling rights.”

The possibility of a Turkish naval base does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks between Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The talks were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Another factor that may be contributing to the Turkish Navy’s desire for a base in Cyprus is Israel. Aside from Ankara’s extremely rocky relations with Jerusalem, Israel and Cyprus have been working to forge an agreement to join their electricity grids and construct a pipeline to link their gas fields to mainland Europe. Although they are in a dispute over development rights of one of these gas fields, Aphrodite, they are invested in reaching a solution that will not damage their increasingly friendly relations.

Erdogan’s considerations should concern NATO, of which Turkey, surprisingly, is still a member, and the rest of the West. As Lawrence A. Franklin recently wrote for Gatestone:

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them. The ability of NATO to respond to other conflicts in the area could be affected, as well as NATO air and naval assets based in both countries. Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.”

Debalina Ghoshal, an independent consultant specializing in nuclear and missile issues, is based in India.

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