Military Review

Anti-Turkish alliance instead of North Atlantic unity

The visit of the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford to Athens and his talks with his Greek counterpart Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis marked Washington’s rather serious attitude to diversify its military structure deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean, allowing it to control the western part of the Middle East as well.

According to RIA "News", Dunford, commenting on the meeting, noted the interest of the Greek side in expanding access to its bases of the US Armed Forces.

The head of the Joint Committee also commended the importance of expanding military cooperation with Greece for the United States, as it opens up additional opportunities for ongoing operations in Syria and Libya, as well as for potential actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The agency recalls that Greece has previously expressed considerable interest in expanding the US military presence in the country. Thus, the head of the Greek Defense Ministry Panos Kammenos suggested that about a year ago, Pentagon chief James Mattis should expand the American military base at Court in Crete and even transfer the airbase from Turkish Incirlik there.

The reasons for such interest of Athens in the American bases are obvious - this is the conflict of Greece and Turkey that has been going on for years. Historically, the relations of these two countries have never been simple. But after the crisis in 1996, they remain as nasty as the Greeks say about the “hybrid war” that Ankara is waging against them, and the Turks accuse Athens of “provocations in the Aegean Sea”.

Anti-Turkish alliance instead of North Atlantic unity

Recall that in 1996, a dispute broke out about the territorial identity of the two rocky islands of Imia (Cardak) in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, which almost led to the outbreak of hostilities between Greece and Turkey. The escalation of the conflict was prevented by the intervention of NATO and the United States. But he was not repaid.

The problem of ownership of the unpopulated rocky islands of Imia / Kardak is closely related to the issue of territorial waters, and, accordingly, the right to explore the seabed and control the sea routes.

At the beginning of 2017, the crisis was sharply aggravated and almost ended in an armed conflict.

In January of this year, the situation repeated. The ship with the Greek Minister of Defense, Panos Kammenos, on board, tried to approach the islands of Imia, in order to honor the memory of the three Greek soldiers who died here in 1996 in the year.

However, Turkish warships and helicopters did not allow him to approach the islands, and as a result, Kammenos laid wreaths on the water and returned.

And in February, a Turkish coast guard patrol ship rammed a Greek military vessel in the same area. In early April, the Greek Air Force intercepted a Turkish drone conducting reconnaissance in Greek airspace.

And on April 10, the Greek garrison of the island of Ro opened a warning fire towards the Turkish (presumably) helicopter.

At the moment, Greece views Turkey not as an ally of NATO, but as an enemy, a war with which it is only a matter of time. The Greek military expert, a teacher of geo-strategy at the College of National Defense Yorgos Filis, directly stated this in March 2018.

“The situation with Turkey is critical. For me there is no longer a question whether there will be a clash with Turkey, for me the question is when it will be. I think that it is necessary to psychologically prepare the Greek people for this. We are not talking about the fact that mobilization will be announced next week, but Turkey is behaving in such a tough manner that it leaves us no framework, ”said Filis.

In fairness, it is worth adding that both Greek and Turkish politicians are trying to use this dangerous situation for "internal use". So, the Athenian authorities are trying to shift public attention from numerous internal problems to the “Turkish threat”. Edrogan is trying to use "Greek provocations" to consolidate society and interact with the opposition. For example, the leader of the main opposition party of Turkey, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, promises to return to the control of Ankara 18 "Greek-occupied" islands. It is clear that this kind of manipulation of politicians can lead to tragic results.

In search of allies able to resist the “Turkish expansion”, Athens seeks to strengthen military cooperation with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.

In light of this, the strengthening of the American military presence in Greece is viewed by Athens as a gift of fate. Especially in light of the deteriorating US-Turkish relations.

Tensions between Washington and Ankara intensified after a failed attempt at a military coup in Turkey, in the organization of which the Turkish side accused Fethullah Gülen, who is US patronized and lives in the United States.

In addition, Erdogan requires Washington to stop supporting Kurdish separatists. In turn, the United States is extremely dissatisfied with Ankara’s growing economic and military-technical cooperation with Moscow.

In any case, it can be stated that American-Turkish relations have never been so bad. Suffice it to say that regular clashes of American and Turkish proxies in Northern Syria periodically run the risk of escalating into a confrontation of American and Turkish units.

Let us return to the meeting in Athens of Joseph Dunford with Evangelos Apostolakis. Perhaps the main issue is the seriousness of the United States. After all, it cannot be excluded that the declaration of intent to turn bases in Greece into its outpost in the Eastern Mediterranean (which has been played by Turkey to this day) is only an attempt to put pressure on Ankara and force it to make concessions.

But is Washington ready to go to the end if this blackmail fails? After all, everything else, it will be associated with huge financial costs. And the “relocation” of the US Air Force and Navy to Greece, most likely, will not only be irreversible, but will also mean passing the point of no return in relations with Turkey.

However, this is not the only problem. The United States, the leader of NATO, speaking in a conflict between two countries participating in the bloc on the side of one of them, not only lose the role of arbitrator, but also exacerbate this conflict, which may well provoke a chain reaction. As a result of which the anti-Turkish alliance will replace the North Atlantic alliance.

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  1. aybolyt678
    aybolyt678 6 September 2018 05: 42
    what can I say .. typical controlled chaos, the Americans played for one side, played for the other ... Dividends will be the profit from weapons, and the former ally's difficulties, it is generally unprofitable for them that it would be good somewhere, they need "Indians" everywhere
  2. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 6 September 2018 06: 45
    The Greeks did not teach the EU membership when they were inclined as they wanted (primarily Germany) on the financial issue, now they decided to be close friends with the United States against Turkey. But only if the Americans firmly embark on Greece, then we will have to shusrenko forget not only about European tolerance in relations, but also about their sovereignty, which is already in question.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 6 September 2018 06: 45
    In this regard, I recall the recent deportation of Russian diplomats from Greece, with the wording of interference in the affairs of this country ... Maybe this is connected, somehow with the conflict between Greece and Turkey ..?
    1. pytar
      pytar 12 September 2018 11: 31
      Maybe this is connected, somehow with the conflict of Greece and Turkey ..?

      No. This is due to the improvement in relations between Greece and Macedonia. Russian diplomats were caught in gross interference in the internal affairs of Greece. Not new, but this time "worked" too roughly.
  4. Charik
    Charik 6 September 2018 07: 10
    something similar was told by some kind of Greek monk in the last century
  5. A.Lex
    A.Lex 6 September 2018 11: 04
    The long-standing policy of the arrogant Saxons in action - divide, conquer and HARVEST.
  6. EwgenyZ
    EwgenyZ 6 September 2018 11: 05
    The reasons for Athens' interest in American bases are obvious - this is not the first year of a conflict between Greece and Turkey.

    Interestingly, and the Greeks are aware that the Americans will not fit in for them in the event of a serious conflict with the Turks?
    “The situation with Turkey is critical. For me there is no longer a question whether there will be a clash with Turkey, for me the question is when it will be. I think that it is necessary to psychologically prepare the Greek people for this. We are not talking about the fact that mobilization will be announced next week, but Turkey is behaving in such a tough manner that it leaves us no framework, ”said Filis.

    I wonder if this "expert" understands that the Greek army has no chance in a direct clash with the Turkish army, or hopes that the Americans will fight for them?
  7. kiril1246
    kiril1246 11 September 2018 13: 15
    One thing I can say, do not travel to Turkish Cyprus, then there will be a problem to enter Greece.
    1. Cottager452
      Cottager452 12 September 2018 19: 27
      Do not write what you do not know.