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Erdogan raises rhetoric in Greece standoff in Mediterranean

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By ANDREW WILKS

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Ankara is currently facing off against Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan is trying to re-establish the Ottoman Empire at the same time Russia is trying to rebuild its Russian/USSR empires. No surprise once again control of oil, gas and their shipments factor in. Trump's so weakened the US empire it's become a global non-factor, though various US military forces still remain in about 150 countries. The British and French empires have long faded. That leaves China as potential empire rival to Turkey and Russia. With Iran in the background.

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The aggressor here is not Turkey. It is the EU, US and some Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE. Considering Turkey has been hosting over 6m refugees from the EU/US invaded parts of the region, they couldn't be any nicer to the EU, US and their Arab/Israeli allies...

It is interesting to find out elsewhere that Greece has already started militarising the Aegean islands and many of these islands are only about 2 - 10km to Turkey. This attitude of Greece is not only hostile but is against the international law since Greece had accepted NOT to arm the Aegean islands by the treaties of Lousanne and Paris. That said, the US has recently lifted the decades old arms embargo on (Southern) Cyprus and in this sense the US gov is encouraging the hostile attitude of the EU and Greeks. I note that in the recents months there has been a number of military exercises carried out by the EU (France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Southern Cyprus), Israel and Egypt against a NATO ally member- Turkey.

But before going any further lets roll back and look at how the conflict in the region has started...The Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves (along with the region's oil reserves) were well known to the EU and US well before (Southern) Cyprus was allowed to join the EU (1 May 2004) as a divided island. Well you might think (Southern) Cyprus's membership to the EU had nothing to do with the natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean. However, this is where the whole conflict stems from:

The EU membership stipulated that "prior to EU accession, the candidate countries should resolve their bilateral issues, that is to say they should resolve all their border disputes before the conclusion of negotiations." However, this was never the case when Cyprus joined the EU. Kofi Annan's plan (24 April 2004) which aimed to re-unify the island was rejected by the majority of Greek Cypriots (who were aware that they would nevertheless join the EU a week later). After the Kofi Annan referendum, Brussels said it wanted to "warmly congratulate" Turkish Cypriots for backing the plan, but the EU commissioners nevertheless welcomed the South as a new future member of the EU and the only sovereign state of Cyprus -despite the fact that bilateral disputes continued to exist over the island before, during and after the membership process:

"The rejection in the southern part of the Mediterranean island means that only the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government will join the EU, along with nine other countries, next Saturday...The (EU) commission said the Turkish Cypriot approval for the (Annan) plan "signals a clear desire of the community to resolve the island's problems. The commission is ready to consider ways of further promoting economic development of the northern part of Cyprus."- 26 April 2004, The EU Commission.

Needless to say after the expansion of May 2004, the EU has never lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Northern Cyprus, they also forgot their promises in relation to some €300m aid to the north...And today France, Greece, Italy... organize joint exercises with the Greek Cypriot administration (Southern Cyrpus) and deploy their military aircrafts and navies to the island contrary to the 1959-60 agreements. The hostile attitude of France and others not only defeats the whole idea of re-unification but it makes a mockery of all the past efforts regarding the re-unification. Such hostile attitudes of these countries also reveal what their original plans were when they accepted (Southern) Cyprus to their membership as a divided, uncomprimising, problematic country. The EU in all likelihood staged the whole thing from the very beginning. France, Greece, Germany, Italy..they all knew about the natural resources of the region but they also knew that Turkey -the largest Eastern Mediterranean country- would also demand its share from such natural reserves. In this regard the EU does not recognise the rights of Northern Cypriots over such natural resources and they entirely ignore London and Zurich treaties.

As if the existing bilateral disputes over Cyprus were not bad enough, the EU has recently created a psedue-maritime boundary dispute with Turkey by overextending the ally countries' (Southern Cyprus, Israel, Egypt) continental shelves over the Mediterranean. In all honesty whatever their execuses are, it is totally and undisputedly unfair to expect Turkey not to benefit from the Mediterranean gas reserves. However, I don't think Erdogan is the right leader for the job and something tells me that, after the +6m refugees he let to his country, he will stitch up his own people once again.

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Turkey wars...Kurdistan. Iraq. Libya. Syria. Afgnhanistan, Kosovo, cypress.

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If Turkey didn't control the Dardanelles they would have been booted from NATO by now. They are effectively an Islamic republic aligned with Iran. Turkey is behaving exactly like the Chinese, exploring for oil in another nation's EEZ in violation of international law and using the threat of military force in an attempt to cow the nation who's EEZ is being violated. Unfortunately for NATO and the EU, what nation controls the Dardanelles is critical to the defense of Europe as controlling that waterway is critical to keeping Russian naval forces bottled up in the Black Sea and out of the Mediterranean. I think the Turks might get a rude surprise if they force the matter. They have no friends in the region who will help them and a lot of enemies who would line up to fight them if it comes to that.

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Erdogan has been doing damage to his country and the region since he came to power, with his constant islamization and drive to restore the Ottoman empire. But because of the demographics of the country, he has a solid voter base. Rural, religious voters vote as their imams tell them.

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@Desert Tortoise

"If Turkey didn't control the Dardanelles they would have been booted from NATO by now."

Dardanelles hadn't got anything to do with Turkey's membership to the NATO since the future of Dardannelles had already been secured by the Montreux Convention back in 1936. (NATO was formed in 1949.) You seem to forget another very important point- At the time when NATO was formed, the CAPITALIST west was scared of the USSR like a mouse scared of cats. The US and UK desperately needed a strong army that could be deployed and used against the Russians in the region and there was no stronger army than the Turkish army in the region. The USSR declared in 1949 that they developed their first nuclear missiles capable of striking any hostile country across the world. Since the US did NOT have the same technology to hit back the USRR in the event of a nuclear war, the US armies wanted to deploy their nuclear missiles to the neighbouring Turkey. This was one of the reasons why the US and its newly formed allies needed Turkey desperately.

Turkey did NOT want to join the NATO at first since the Turks did NOT have any problems with the USSR. However, the US and its allies promised lots of things to Turkey in relation to its economy and military equipment. For such reasons Turkey first joined the Korean War- which in my view was a big mistake. (The Turkish Korean war veterans have NEVER received any compensation from the US to this date.)

In 1950 Turkey was made a member of the Council of Europe but that was all about it: Although Turkey signed an Association Agreement, known as the Ankara Agreement, with the European Economic Community (EEC) on 12 September 1963, France later rejected Turkey's membership to the EEC (EU) and demanded that its former African colonies should also be allowed to such membership. This was a ridiculous demand and had nothing to do with Turkey's membership and the principles of the European Economic Union.

Where Turkey is at the moment, they couldn't be happier to leave the NATO. Remember, the Obama gov refused to sell the US air defence system to Turkey and this led Turkey to buy such weapons from Russia. Howerver, in vengence the Trump gov removed Turkey from their F35 program couple of months ago...So from the Turkish perspective there is no reason whatsoever why their country should still bend over to NATO and in return get bullied by NATO members in the Mediterranean.

"Turkey is behaving exactly like the Chinese, exploring for oil in another nation's EEZ in violation of international law and using the threat of military force in an attempt to cow the nation who's EEZ is being violated."

Apart from the allies of the US, I think everyone knows who has been exploiting the gold reserves of Afghanistan and the oil fields of Iraq and Sudan all these years. In this regard, from where the Mediterranean gas reserves are (international waters), it is clear which countries (Israel, Greece, Southern Cyprus, Italy, France) have extended their maritime boundaries beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines defined by the EEZ. That said, you might as well argue EEZ alone does NOT define the maritime boundaries of countries (since such boundaries are quite often subject to certain treaties). Turkey had signed London and Zurich treaties with Greece, UK in the past regarding Northern Cyprus and in this regard and considering the size of their Mediterranean coastline, Turks have a right to claim a fair share over the Mediterranean gas reserves.

You seem to forget that Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE (and potantially US and UK) are also interested in the Mediterranean gas reserves although none of these countries have any coastline on the Mediterranean sea. So what would you like to say about them in relation to their non-existent EEZ boundaries in the Mediterranean?

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