Connect with us

Hellenic Insider

Analysis

Europe

Greece must continue to closely watch emboldened Erdogan

Wars do not require military violence to become acts of hostility

Published

on

27 Views

Europe has been lucky enough to not have been dragged into a military altercation on the continent in over two decades, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t, or won’t, happen again. The situation in and around Europe is becoming more precarious by the week, or so it seems.

The EU is becoming ever more fractured and NATO has apparently lost its way. Right on Europe’s doorstep is the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which is increasingly resembling a dictatorship, which can be noted by yet another reelection to the Turkish Presidency last month.

Irish Times reoports

We are fortunate in Europe in the sense that we haven’t had a major military conflict since the collapse of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian-Serb conflict of the 1990s. Maybe we are also fortunate that the refugee crisis is making us aware of wars elsewhere and the need for conciliation and mutual respect.

But there are invisible wars continuing: wars of attrition, wars of diplomacy, economic wars which don’t need bombs, gas masks or even verbal abuse but which thrive on factors which are just as insidious as ethnic cleansing, terrorism and religious prejudice.

Turkey may not officially be at war, but the narrow victory of President Recip Erdogan in last month’s elections will certainly increase the levels of aggression on which he, as executive president, will be able to operate. At home, Erdogan has not only effectively declared war on the opposition (imprisoning dissident academics, teachers and journalists) but makes no secret of his determination to suppress, if not exterminate, the Kurdish minority.

Greece is watching Erdogan’s success with apprehension. He has already carried his arguments into the enemy camp during his state visit here last December when he spoke of rescinding the international treaties under which the Dodecanese islands (including Rhodes, Kos and Patmos) became part of Greece in 1947.

Twice in the past 30 years, Greece and Turkey have been on the brink of war over the ownership of such islands. And Erdogan has indicated that he regards the citizens of northeastern Greece, who happen to be Muslim, as more properly part of his own Islamic hegemony.

Wars therefore do not require military violence to become acts of hostility. Turkish warplanes provocatively entering Greek airspace are a tragedy waiting to happen and could precipitate a territorial conflict.

Reason for war

And wars are not always fought for their ostensible reasons. The Greek war of independence was more about weakening the Ottoman empire (the “sick man of Europe”) than about freedom for Greeks. Turkey was a threat to the Austro-Hungarian empire because it controlled most of the Balkan region including the lands that are modern Greece. The states of Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia came into existence as and when it suited the Great Powers to create them.

The “war” of the Grexit, when it looked as if Greece would leave the euro zone and revert to the drachma, wasn’t about saving the Greek economy (which was almost “dead in the Med” anyway) but about safeguarding the euro itself and the German and French banks which had over-lent to Greece.

It was about saving the architects of the euro zone from a horrendous own goal. The destruction of the Greek economy and the near-collapse of the Italian, Spanish, Irish and Portuguese exchequers were the result of war-by-banking and war-by-chicanery.

The “war” of the refugee crisis is being fought not so much to protect the Syrians and Afghans but to test Europe’s capacity for humanitarian compassion against its equal and opposite capacity to repel what it does not understand. Syria’s internal war, the ubiquitous Islamic State and the Middle East conflicts are challenging Europe’s conscience by fuelling its fears.

Virtual dictatorship

The next “war”, to protect Europe from itself, will be fought not to respect the democratic rights of Italians, Greeks, Catalans or Basques but to copperfasten the hegemony of the northern states.

The situation in Turkey, with a virtual dictatorship sitting on Europe’s doorstep, must make both the European centrists and expansionists fearful for the alleged ideals of the European founders: democracy, justice, free trade and movement of peoples and ideas, all of which are challenged by Greece’s nearest and most aggressive neighbour, Turkey.

Erdogan’s slim 52 per cent majority will probably enlarge, rather than diminish, his single-minded aggressiveness, since he still has much to fear at home. Although he has made many Turks more prosperous and has a strong domestic economy, his politics are scaring away the chance of capital investment.

Nevertheless, bankers lend to strong men, not to wimps. Meanwhile he can afford, literally, to condescend to Greece, where the average worker pays well over 50 per cent of income in taxes – direct, indirect and social security – and the prospects of economic recovery at a national level remain remote.

Erdogan wants to get his hands on some parts of northern Syria, so he helped arm, fund, and train terrorist groups inside the war torn country to further destabilize it, hoping that once this is sufficiently accomplished that he can march down there and take whatever territory he pleases. However, once the Russians got involved, the situation got a bit more complication, and once the Americans started forming a Kurdish Coalition, Erdogan, a NATO member and ally of America, turned his guns at the US pet coalition of Kurds and is currently in the process of exterminating them, whether the US likes it or not, whether allies with Washington, or not.

This betrays the reality that Erdogan’s regime is one that can’t be trusted to abide by a given geopolitical alliance unless it is militarily enforced. That his regime is increasingly resembling a dictatorship can be gleaned from the manner in which he treats political freedom within his own country, jailing anyone who opposes his political dominance, which may artificially be maintained through his use of force or bribery. Therefore, Europe is facing a regime run by something of a dictator that could become a forceful threat if Europe can’t keep a lid on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

The Mediterranean Pipeline Wars Are Heating Up

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com:


Things have been quite active in the Eastern Mediterranean lately, with Israel, Cyprus and Greece pushing forward for the realization of the EastMed pipeline, a new gas conduit destined to diversify Europe’s natural gas sources and find a long-term reliable market outlet for all the recent Mediterranean gas discoveries. The three sides have reached an agreement in late November (roughly a year after signing the MoU) to lay the pipeline, the estimated cost of which hovers around $7 billion (roughly the same as rival TurkStream’s construction cost). Yet behind the brave facade, it is still very early to talk about EastMed as a viable and profitable project as it faces an uphill battle with traditionally difficult Levantine geopolitics, as well as field geology.

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland. Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too, with an estimated length of 1900km. The countries involved proceed from the premise that the pipeline’s throughput capacity would be 20 BCM per year (706 BCf), although previous estimates were within the 12-16 BCm per year interval. According to Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Energy Minister, the stakeholders would need a year to iron out all the remaining administrative issues and 4-5 years to build the pipeline, meaning it could come onstream not before 2025.

The idea of EastMed was first flaunted around 2009-2010 as the first more or less substantial gas discovery in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Tamar gas field in Israel’s offshore zone, paved the way for speculations about an impending gas boom. Then came the 535 BCm (18.9 TCf) Leviathan in 2010 and the 850 BCm (30 TCf) Zohr discovery in offshore Egypt five years later and suddenly it seemed that an Eastern Mediterranean gas expansion is inevitable. Yet over the years, the operators of Leviathan have already allocated part of their total gas volumes to domestic power generating companies and most notably NEPCO, the Jordanian electric power company (1.6-2BCm per year). Egypt has been concentrating on meeting domestic needs and getting rid of LNG imports, moreover once it bounces back to gas exporter status in 2019, it will only use its own 2 LNG terminals in Damietta and Idku.

Thus, a pertinent question arises – whose gas would be used to fill the EastMed pipeline? If the pipeline starts in offshore Cyprus, then it would be logical to expect that Cyprus’ gas bounty would be somehow utilized. Yet Cyprus has been lagging behind Egypt and Israel in its offshore endeavors and so far lacks a clear-cut giant field to base its supply future on. The two discoveries appraised heretofore, the 6-8 TCf Calypso operated by ENI and the 4.5 TCf Aphrodite operated by Noble Energy, are not enough to support the construction of a relatively expensive gas pipeline – all the more so as Noble has signed a provisional deal to send Aphrodite gas to Egypt’s Idku LNG terminal, most likely by means of a subsea gas pipeline. If we are to judge the viability of the EastMed on the current situation, there is only Calypso and Israel to fill the pipeline, as Greece’s gas export plans are close to zero on the probability scale.

The subsea section from Cyprus’ offshore zone to the island of Crete lies in depths of 3km and is stretched across a seismically active zone. But there is even more – should Turkey claim rights on Cyprus’ offshore hydrocarbon deposits (in February 2018 it sent warships to scare away ENI’s drilling rig that was on its way to xxx), the project is all but dead. This is far from an implausible scenario as President Erdogan stated that Turkey would never allow for the extortion of natural resources in the East Mediterranean by means of excluding Ankara and Northern Cyprus. Cognizant of the risks inherent in an East Mediterranean gas pipeline, there has been no interest from oil and gas majors to participate in the project. This is worrying as the $7 billion are expected to be financed from private investors, of which there is a palpable dearth – despite the EU’s 35 million funding to promote what it sees as a Project of Common Interest.

Yet even for the European Union, the EastMed gas pipeline presents a bit of a headache as its commissioning would render the Southern Gas Corridor, comprising so far only of Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) with a 10 BCm per year throughput capacity, irrelevant by creating a sort-of competitor. The price of the natural gas to be supplied via the EastMed pipeline might become the biggest obstacle of them all – if the cost of producing offshore Mediterranean gas turns out to be $4-5/MMBtu as expected, the addition of further transportation costs to it all would place EastMed supplied at the bottom range of European gas supply options (Russian gas supply is alleged to be profitable with price levels as low as $4/MMbtu). All this might change if any of the East Mediterranean countries were to discover a giant gas field, altering the economics of production or possibly even liquefaction.

In fact, 2019 will witness several key wells being drilled across Cyprus, Egypt and possibly even Israel. ExxonMobil’s testing of Block 10 in offshore Cyprus would largely point to the overall attractiveness of Cyprus as an oil and gas producing country – the drilling has already started, with results expected in Q1 2019. The ENI-operated Noor offshore field in Egypt, adjacent to Zohr, is a much hotter prospect with BP buying into it lately – most likely it will outshine all the other drilling sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, however, if a big discovery is confirmed, it would be most likely used for Egyptian purposes which run counter to the EastMed gas pipeline. Thus, EastMed’s only hope is that Israel 2nd international licensing round, results to be announced in July 2019, will elicit a couple of Leviathan-like finds that would make pipeline construction profitable. Until then, the prospects are rather bleak.

By Viktor Katona for Oilprice.com

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Turkey’s Threats against Greece

Erdogan believes that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestne Institute:


  • The one issue on which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his opposition are in “complete agreement” is the “conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered.”
  • “So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean.” – Uzay Bulut, Turkish journalist.
  • Ankara’s ongoing challenges to Greek land and sea sovereignty are additional reasons to keep it from enjoying full acceptance in Europe and the rest of the West.

In April 2017, Turkish European Affairs Minister Omer Celik claimed in an interview that the Greek Aegean island of Agathonisi (pictured) was Turkish territory. (Image source: Hans-Heinrich Hoffmann/Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey’s “persistent policy of violating international law and breaching international rules and regulations” was called out in a November 14 letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres by Polly Ioannou, the deputy permanent representative of Cyprus to the UN.

Reproving Ankara for its repeated violations of Cypriot airspace and territorial waters, Ioannou wrote of Turkey’s policy:

“[it] is a constant threat to international peace and security, has a negative impact on regional stability, jeopardises the safety of international civil aviation, creates difficulties for air traffic over Cyprus and prevents the creation of an enabling environment in which to conduct the Cyprus peace process.”

The letter followed reports in August about Turkish violations of Greek airspace over the northeastern, central and southeastern parts of the Aegean Sea, and four instances of Turkey violating aviation norms by infringing on the Athens Flight Information Region (AFIR). Similar reports emerged in June of Turkey violating Greek AFIR by conducting unauthorized flights over the southern Aegean islets of Mavra, Levitha, Kinaros and Agathonisi.

In April 2017, Turkish European Affairs Minister Omer Celik claimed in an interview that Agathonisi was Turkish territory. A day earlier, a different Turkish minister announced that Turkey “would not allow Greece to establish a status of ‘fait accompli’ in the ‘disputed’ regions in the Aegean Sea.” In December 2017, Greek Deputy Minister of Shipping Nektarios Santonirios reportedly “presented a plan to populate a number of uninhabited eastern Aegean islands to deter Turkish claims to the land.”

According to a recent statement from Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“Greek-Turkish disputes over the Aegean continental shelf date back to November 1973, when the Turkish Government Gazette published a decision to grant the Turkish national petroleum company permits to conduct research in the Greek continental shelf west of Greek islands in the Eastern Aegean.

“Since then, the repeated Turkish attempts to violate Greece’s sovereign rights on the continental shelf have become a serious source of friction in the two countries’ bilateral relations, even bringing them close to war (1974, 1976, 1987).”

This friction has only increased with the authoritarian rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, particularly since, as Uzay Bulut notes:

There is one issue on which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean.

The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more powerful and patriotic, and which possesses the courage to carry out the threat against Greece. While the CHP is accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party of enabling Greece to occupy Turkish lands, the AKP is attacking the CHP, Turkey’s founding party, for allowing Greece to take the islands through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, the 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements, and the 1947 Paris Treaty, which recognized the islands of the Aegean as Greek territory.

This has been Turkish policy despite the fact that both Greece and Turkey have been members of NATO since 1952. Greece became a member of the European Union in 1981 — a status that Turkey has spent decades failing to achieve, mainly due to its human-rights violations.

Recently, EU and Turkish officials met in Brussels on November 30 to discuss an intelligence-sharing agreement between the European Police Service (Europol) and Ankara. Such an agreement is reportedly one of 72 requirements that Ankara would have to meet in order to receive visa-free travel to the Schengen zone.

Ankara’s ongoing challenges to Greek land and sea sovereignty are additional reasons to keep it from enjoying full acceptance in Europe and the rest of the West.

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

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Paranoid Turkey Claims “Greece, Israel, & Egypt Are Part Of Khashoggi’s Murder Plot”

A new Turkish narrative has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


As we noted previouslythe conflict over gas in the eastern Mediterranean is intensifying.

The dispute concerns gas blocks, with Turkey furious about the energy cooperation of these Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt in the East Mediterranean Sea. While Turkish warships have been active, it appears Turkey is taking a new approach to this hybrid war.

As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports,a new Turkish narrative, based on paranoia and conspiracy theories, has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggipresumably in an effort to garner global opinion against their energy-hording neighbors.

This unbelievable allegation has been claimed by Erdogan’s close aide Yigit Bulut, who is famous for his delirium and ravings, during an appearance on state television of Turkey.

“Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of murder plot involving slain Saudi Arabia journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul,” Yigit Bulut said in TRT Television, where he is a frequent guest.

Enlisting the ‘good old traditional perception’ that Turkey is surrounded by enemies, KeepTalkingGreece notesthat Bulut said:

“a belt extending from Europe to Israel has always harbored hostility towards Turkey they never wanted Turks in this region. Europe even made Turks to fight unnecessary wars against Russia.”

It is worth noting that Russia and Turkey have come closer recently due to Syria, a cooperation sealed with armament sales to Ankara triggering the anger of US and the NATO of which Turkey is a member.

Bulut vowed that Turkey will continue oil and gas exploration in the East Mediterranean off-shore Cyprus.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending