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24 October, 2020
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Athens bracing for four East Med scenarios

One of the scenarios foresees a Greek military response if Turkey resorts to military force

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Having drawn useful conclusions from the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean over the summer, Athens is prepared to deal with any move Ankara makes south of the island of Kastellorizo and is examining four possible scenarios, Kathimerini understands.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan unleashed a new tirade of incendiary rhetoric on Wednesday, threatening Greece and the Greek Cypriots with “the response they deserve.” 

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, meanwhile, will seek to ensure that the European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday sends a strong message to Turkey, making the prospect of sanctions more tangible. He is also expected to insist that the assessment of Turkish behavior cannot wait until December (the deadline set at the October 1-2 summit). 

“We have a patient in critical condition. We must intervene now. If we wait until December, we will do an autopsy,” a Greek official said. 

Meanwhile, at the level of operational planning the country’s armed forces consider it a certainty that the area between 6 and 12 nautical miles from the Kastellorizo island complex will be a field of possible friction. This is an area where Greece reserves the right to extend its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles.

Amid this backdrop, four scenarios are being considered. The first stipulates the prevention of an attempt by Turkey to conduct exploratory activities in the 6-12 nautical miles zone, without the use of military force. The second foresees a Greek military response if Turkey resorts to military force. 

The third scenario, which is one that Athens has been considering since August, is that of a possible provocation at the nearby islets of Ro and Strongyli, which do not have permanent residents. The coast guard is on standby to prevent a possible attempt by Turkey to encourage the arrival there of a migrant boat. This could pose a problem if Turkey sends rescue teams under the pretext that it is operating in an area under its jurisdiction. 

The fourth scenario concerns what Erdogan threatened to do Wednesday, which is to send the Yavuz drill ship to the areas explored by the survey vessel Oruc Reis in the East Med.

This scenario is considered the worst as it will, essentially, force Athens to consider the use of military means to prevent the violation of Greek sovereign rights.

Greece  |  Turkey  |  EU  |  eastern Mediterranean  |  politics  |  diplomacy

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