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Greece (and others) vs Turkey over EEZs in Eastern Med. and natural gas drilling

MarkOttawa

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All this is getting distinctly hinky-making--some stories, big implications for NATO and EU (and note Libya where Erdogan is heavily backing the GNA gov't in Tripoli--equipment, Syrian mercenaries--vs the Haftar-led rebels):

Southern EU states offer backing to Greece and Cyprus in Turkey row
https://www.dpa-international.com/topic/southern-eu-states-offer-backing-greece-cyprus-turkey-row-urn%3Anewsml%3Adpa.com%3A20090101%3A200910-99-512476

Greece goes arms shopping as Turkey tension rises
France set to benefit from Athens’ plans to boost military spending. [18 Rafales?]
https://www.politico.eu/article/greece-goes-arms-shopping-as-turkey-tension-rises/

Mediterranean drilling dispute sees Macron blast Turkish president Erdogan
Turkey has previously criticized France and the EU for siding with Greece in oil drilling row

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/mediterranean-turkey-greece-france-1.5718480

Greek PM to detail defense program amid Turkey tensions
https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/greek-pm-to-detail-defense-program-amid-turkey-tensions-1.644840

Erdogan tells Macron not to 'mess with Turkey' in Mediterranean spat [bit more than "spat" now]
https://www.dpa-international.com/topic/erdogan-tells-macron-mess-turkey-mediterranean-spat-urn%3Anewsml%3Adpa.com%3A20090101%3A200912-99-534574

And from a very good backgrounder Sept. 11 by Eric Reguly:

A dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean has brought Turkey and Greece close to war once again. But this time it’s different

QWBUSXMK2ZL7DEEQBO34YV5IQ4.jpg

In this photo provided on Aug. 31, 2020, by the Greek Defense Ministry, worships from Greece, Italy, Cyprus and France participate in a joint military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Associated Press


Greece and Turkey are on the brink of war once again – the trigger this time being access to rich reserves of natural gas under the Eastern Mediterranean...

This time it’s different, because potentially vast reserves of gas, and perhaps oil, are at stake and every country in the region wants a piece of the action. Many are getting it, but not Turkey. The gas discoveries were supposed to unite the region’s countries, including the Palestinian Territories, and provide them with cheap energy and a steady stream of export dollars. Instead, the fight over hydrocarbon exploration rights has injected another dose of instability into an already volatile region.

On Aug. 12, a Greek frigate and a Turkish frigate collided in disputed waters between Cyprus and Crete. The Turkish ship was one of five in the Turkish fleet escorting the Oruc Reis oil and gas exploration vessel, its hull splashed in the red and white of the country’s flag. Greece said the collision was an accident; Turkey interpreted it as a deliberate provocation. “If this goes on, we will retaliate,” Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan bellowed.

Fears are high that this will escalate into an armed skirmish...

Greece and its Mediterranean allies are also pushing the European Union to impose sanctions on Turkey if it does not remove its military and seismic ships from Cypriot waters.

Everyone knows the Eastern Mediterranean contains lots of gas; some of it is already being delivered by pipeline to Egypt and Israel, cutting their energy import bills and carbon footprints. History has largely sidelined Turkey. The way the maps of the territorial waters, continental shelves and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) are drawn means that Greece and its ally the Republic of Cyprus have the greatest access to the subsea spoils in the Aegean and huge swaths of the Levantine Sea.

Turkey’s current land and maritime borders largely reflect the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which officially settled the conflict between the Ottoman Empire, France, Italy, Greece and Romania. Mr. Erdogan wants the treaty renegotiated. Unless it is, he has made it clear that he will make trouble. That’s already happening.

Last November, Turkey signed a maritime agreement with Tripoli’s Government of National Accord, the UN-backed regime in Western Libya, that establishes an EEZ extending from Libya’s northeast coast to Turkey’s southwestern Mediterranean shore. It cuts like a knife through the waters near Crete that are claimed by Greece...[read on]
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-a-dispute-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-has-brought-turkey-and-greece/

Mark
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MarkOttawa

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MarkOttawa said:
All this is getting distinctly hinky-making--some stories, big implications for NATO and EU (and note Libya where Erdogan is heavily backing the GNA gov't in Tripoli--equipment, Syrian mercenaries--vs the Haftar-led rebels):

Mark
Ottawa

And now:

Greece to acquire Rafale jets from France, four frigates

Greece will boost its armed forces through the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets and four frigates and will hire 15,000 army personnel over the next five years, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday [Sept. 12].

Mitsotakis said the country would also “enrich” its defence capacity with new arms, torpedoes and missiles and revamp its loss-making defence industry.
https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-economy-pm-defence/greece-to-acquire-rafale-jets-from-france-four-frigates-idUKKBN2630UM

Mark
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MilEME09

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/12/president-erdogan-warns-macron-dont-mess-with-turkey


Turkey is trying to flex it's muscle, and I am thinking it's leader thinks he can push as much as he wants because no one would dare dream of a NATO vs NATO member armed conflict. If he keeps it up though armed intervention, even covertly may occur.

I for one think a hard and soft approach is needed. Hard line on supplying weapons to Libya, and a soft approach on oil and gas drilling. Unless Turkey backs down though, I only see this escalating, and Erdoğan is too proud to back down.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Not exactly the first time the Modern States of Turkey and Greece have shot at each other, plus their classical history is mostly conflict. Tactically Greece has a lot of exposed ground to defend with many islands a mere stone throw from Mainland Turkey. I would expect Turkey to seize some of them and expel the Greek residents and then refuse to leave.
 

MarkOttawa

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Colin P said:
Not exactly the first time the Modern States of Turkey and Greece have shot at each other...

See:

“Megali Idea” And Greek Irredentism In The Wars For A Greater Greece, 1912−1923
...
Ideas-for-Greek-expansion.png

...
https://orientalreview.org/2018/12/06/megali-idea-and-greek-irredentism-in-the-wars-for-a-greater-greece-1912%E2%88%921923/

One imagines a lust for Constantinople still lives within quite a few Greek breasts.

Mark
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CBH99

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Colin P said:
Not exactly the first time the Modern States of Turkey and Greece have shot at each other, plus their classical history is mostly conflict. Tactically Greece has a lot of exposed ground to defend with many islands a mere stone throw from Mainland Turkey. I would expect Turkey to seize some of them and expel the Greek residents and then refuse to leave.


Seizing the islands, expelling the civilian residents, and setting up shop would almost be a rookie move from the conventional sense.

Let them do just that.  Put in the time, effort, resources of establishing themselves there militarily.  Then rain fire from coastal, naval, and air assets to an island that's mostly void of civilians.


I actually agree with you, that I could see Turkey doing just that.  I just think from a tactical perspective, it would be painting themselves as a huge target.    :2c:
 

MilEME09

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CBH99 said:
Seizing the islands, expelling the civilian residents, and setting up shop would almost be a rookie move from the conventional sense.

Let them do just that.  Put in the time, effort, resources of establishing themselves there militarily.  Then rain fire from coastal, naval, and air assets to an island that's mostly void of civilians.


I actually agree with you, that I could see Turkey doing just that.  I just think from a tactical perspective, it would be painting themselves as a huge target.    :2c:

Well they have shown to not be the sharpest tool in the shed, tactically speaking
 

Colin Parkinson

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CBH99 said:
Seizing the islands, expelling the civilian residents, and setting up shop would almost be a rookie move from the conventional sense.

Let them do just that.  Put in the time, effort, resources of establishing themselves there militarily.  Then rain fire from coastal, naval, and air assets to an island that's mostly void of civilians.


I actually agree with you, that I could see Turkey doing just that.  I just think from a tactical perspective, it would be painting themselves as a huge target.    :2c:

Or forcing Greece to respond by trying to retake the island but the island will be covered by Turkish, air force, artillery and missiles. along with their navy. Greece can't afford to many losses and can't afford not to act or risk losing more islands.
 

MilEME09

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Colin P said:
Or forcing Greece to respond by trying to retake the island but the island will be covered by Turkish, air force, artillery and missiles. along with their navy. Greece can't afford to many losses and can't afford not to act or risk losing more islands.

Given how things have played so far, France would likely Back Greece up, how many others are sick of Turkey's shit remains to be seen, likely a few if they did commit to such a move.
 

Colin Parkinson

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This could be a trigger for things to come.

Turkey seizes Greek Island, goad Greece on.

Greece attempts to recapture island and lured into a trap, suffering heavy causalities

Greek Nationalism is now at stake, another attempt is tried by with more preparation, Greeks gain a foothold, but under heavy sustained bombardment. Greek Air force attacks Turkish artillery on the mainland, Turks take causalities, and a fair bit of air combat and naval duels take place. Turkey invades another island to to divert pressure.

Greece is suffering from loss of aircraft, causalities, several landing craft sunk and ammunition running low, France intervenes by providing emergency arms to Greece and deploys fighter jets on the Greek mainland to bolster the Greek airforce. French naval forces move to bolster Greek navy.

Turkey Cries foul, attempts to muddy the waters with a call to NATO to protect it, NATO refuses, Russia offers support, citing the return of "Turkish heritage territory" being the same as Crimea was to Russia. Russian aircraft and naval units bolster Turkish forces, together they declare a no go zone for 30km off of Turkey's western shore


so on and so forth...
     
 

CBH99

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Interesting & entertaining hypothetical scenarios here.  I enjoy  :nod:


I don't see it playing out that way.

Let's not forget, multiple Turkish warships targeted a French warship with FC radars when the French warship was attempting to intercept a vessel suspected of smuggling arms into Libya.  The Turkish ships physically ran interference for the suspect vessel, issued radio calls to the French warship to back off, and proceeded to target it.

The immediate result of that incident was France pulling out of the naval task group that has been deployed specifically to ensure weapons aren't smuggled into Libya - until clarification & reassurance was issued by Turkey.

Not only has Turkey been caught red handed supplying money and weapons to ISIS - they've also bombed and targeted our Kurdish allies, Turkish and Greek jets regularly have mock dogfights over Cyprus, issued arrest warrants for senior American military personnel, and threatened to arrest/seize American assets at a Turkish airbase as a result of American support for the coup. 

The same coup that was pretty clearly a false flag for Ergoden to expand his powers drastically, arrest judges & members of the judicial system, teachers, police officers, soldiers, etc etc - anybody who he 'suspected' may not be loyal to him. 



He has quite blatantly thrown rocks at the big kid at school (NATO) - and I don't think NATO is going to rush to his rescue if he happens to get into a scrap in the schoolyard.  If anything, NATO will support Greece - a NATO member that isn't chronically pissing everybody off with their nonsense.  :2c:

As for Article 5 being invoked, I don't see it happening.  Although, technically, if Turkey did invade a Greek island & kicked off a military dispute, I suppose Article 5 would be valid.  Quite a mess if Article 5 had to be invoked between two NATO members - I imagine the conflict would be short lived due to the immense political pressure behind the scenes.

Would Russia love it?  Absolutely.  It takes NATO's eyes off of Russia and refocuses them elsewhere & inwards, which would give Putin some breathing room to do something if he wanted to, even if that action is more espionage & subtle than blatantly seizing territory.



As for the tactical scenario, I would see the heaviest losses being on the Turkish side.  They seize an island and set up shop...and then what?  Modern munitions can be launched from some pretty impressive ranges. 

Assuming Turkey and Greece aren't fighting for their own sovereign territory, and the squabble is over an island, whatever infrastructure Turkey sets up on the island can be taken out without the need to actually invade the island.

That's what makes island bases so dangerous in the modern era.  We don't need to invade islands like we did in WW2 to create a lillypad across the Pacific so we could start to bomb the Japanese homeland.  Now, all we need to do is take out the base's ability to conduct offensive operations - such as power generation, radars, communications, runways, etc.  That's it.

So even if Turkey did invade an island and set up shop, like I said before - from a tactical perspective, you are better off just letting them have it & coming back for it later.  :2c:
 

Colin Parkinson

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Greece does not appear to have a lot of deep strike capability, it does have a good sub fleet. The Army has a lot of artillery and AD, I suggest Canada does not piss Greece off  ;D

The thing is the Turks are likely willing to take the causalities to grab and hold an Island. Greece must respond or risk a continuing loss of territory. Turkey has a strong Navy and Air Force and a experienced army. Grabbing an island means Turkey must extend a protective umbrella about 30km from its shore. Greece on the other hand has move forces and cover them some 140-60 km across the water.
 

midget-boyd91

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At what point does it become too great of a risk of NATO losing any access to the Black Sea by largely backing Greece if such an event unfolds?
Again,  this is something that Russia would have wet dreams about and may even offer their own support to Turkey to incentivize them to shutting NATO out of the Black Sea.
 

Colin Parkinson

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You can be sure that Russia will play this anyway it can. Russia has had decent relations with Greece and might even support Greece if it thinks it will skewer Turkish actions in Syria or Russia backs Turkey while squeezing them for concessions in Syria.
 

CBH99

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Colin P said:
Greece does not appear to have a lot of deep strike capability, it does have a good sub fleet. The Army has a lot of artillery and AD, I suggest Canada does not piss Greece off  ;D

The thing is the Turks are likely willing to take the causalities to grab and hold an Island. Greece must respond or risk a continuing loss of territory. Turkey has a strong Navy and Air Force and a experienced army. Grabbing an island means Turkey must extend a protective umbrella about 30km from its shore. Greece on the other hand has move forces and cover them some 140-60 km across the water.


I'd have to counter point your suggestion that Turkey has an experienced Army.  They don't.

They have a large standing Army, which has NOT performed well by ANY MEASURE in recent conflict.  Even Turkish military actions in Kurdish held territory as of late has been 'friendly militias' doing most of the grunt work, supported by artillery on the Turkish side of the border.

On paper they have a large standing army, that seems to be decently kitted out.  The problem is that a majority of their recent conflicts have been fought by hired 'ragtag' militias.  :2c:
 

Colin Parkinson

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I will argue they have far more experience than the Greeks, although I acknowledge your points are fair comment.
 

CBH99

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB9Rknjc1pA


Hadn't seen this posted yet, and won't have time to google anything until tonight.  It popped up on my feed, figured I would post it here real quick - busy day at work.

Cheers
 

Colin Parkinson

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Hmm this is not good I suspect and may limit much military traffic into and out of the Black Sea. I am sure Russia would not be pleased .

Turkey on Monday arrested 10 retired admirals who signed a statement asserting the importance of the Montreux Convention, designed to prevent the militarization of the Black Sea.
 
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