With the Queen of England’s death as well as the EU energy crisis topping headlines, followed by the enduring Ukraine war, too few in the West seem to realize that a major crisis has been brewing in the Mediterranean which could see two NATO members enter a shooting war.
This article was originally published by ZeroHedge.
Greece has taken the unprecedented step of informing NATO HQ, the EU, and UN that a Ukraine-style war is looming with Turkey. The two have long been locked in disputes over maritime rights, the status of Greece’s Aegean islands, and airspace violations.
The letters from Athens, sent earlier this week, blasted Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan growing war rhetoric which had expressly threatened Greece in a weekend speech, “we may come down suddenly one night” and that the “the price will be heavy.” Erdogan has accused Athens of militarizing islands off Turkey’s coast in contravention of historic treaties.
The formal letters to Europe and the UN denounced Turkey’s “openly threatening” and “inflammatory” statements”. Citing contents from the letters, The Associated Press underscored the seriousness of the situation, comparing tensions to Russia-Ukraine levels just prior to the Russian invasion:
Greece’s government has written to the country’s NATO and European Union partners and the head of the United Nations, asking them to formally condemn increasingly aggressive talk by officials in neighboring Turkey and suggesting that current bilateral tensions could escalate into a second open conflict on European soil.
In the letters, copies of which were seen Wednesday by The Associated Press, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the behavior of his country’s historic regional rival — and NATO ally — should be censured by the three bodies.
“By not doing so in time or by underestimating the seriousness of the matter, we risk witnessing again a situation similar to that currently unfolding in some other part of our continent,” he wrote, in an allusion to the war in Ukraine. “This is something none of us would really wish to see.”
The letters also said that Erdogan’s words are stoking a war posturing in Turkish society, as his remarks “imbue the Turkish people with hatred, enmity and contempt towards their Greek neighbors”.
Greece’s foreign ministry has at the same time repeatedly denounced the “outrageous daily slide” of threats and hostile rhetoric coming out of Ankara, and also from Turkish media outlets. Ahead of the formal letters submitted to to the EU, UN, and NATO, a statement vowed, “We will inform our allies and partners on the content of the provocative statements… to make it clear who is setting dynamite to the cohesion of our alliance during a dangerous period.”
Deutsche Welle: “Turkish nationalist Devlet Bahceli (right) showed a map on which key islands are marked as Turkish territory.” State media has been filled with such inflammatory content of late.
For years, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus have been at odds over expanding Turkish oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is using its occupation of northern Cyprus to say that all waters encircling the island are fair game for its research and drilling vessels. Over the last half-century there’s been at least a couple of occasions where tensions where so high there were fears of a military conflict breaking out.
Other EU members, particularly France, have strongly supported EU-member Cyprus’ condemnation of incursions in its territorial waters. France has even conducted a series of joint exercises with Greece and Cyprus in solidarity.