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Turkey coup?

Old 11th Aug 2020, 07:05
  #241 (permalink)  
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Row ignites between Turkey and Greece over Mediterranean gas

Turkey is heading for a confrontation with Greece in the Mediterranean after sending a survey ship into Greek waters off the island of Kastellorizo. The Oruc Reis, which has previously used to search for gas under Cypriot waters, sailed into the area hours after Turkey issued a Navtex maritime warning to alert other vessels. It said that three Turkish ships would be conducting surveys.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, chaired an emergency meeting yesterday. In a statement issued later, the Greek foreign ministry told Turkey to “immediately cease its illegal activities, which undermine peace and security in the region”. Greece put its armed forces on high alert and issued an anti-Navtex, instructing all mariners to ignore the earlier notice from Turkey.

Fatih Donmez, the Turkish energy minister, wrote on Twitter that “our efforts to secure Turkey’s energy independence in the Mediterranean . . . will continue uninterrupted”.

The dispute over exploration rights in the Mediterranean began last week when Greece and Egypt signed a deal demarcating the sea boundary between their exclusive economic zones. That area cuts across an agreement between Turkey and the Libyan government of national accord in November.

Greece and Turkey do not recognise each other’s maritime areas.
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 18:10
  #242 (permalink)  
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Latest article & photos in The Times.
Greece and Turkey square up over the rights to undersea gas

Even before the fighter jets thundered over and warships sailed into view, Konstantinos Papoutsis was suffering his worst summer in memory.

Covid-19 had already robbed his tourism business on the Greek island of Kastellorizo of almost all its customers. Now, a dispute about undersea gas has brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of conflict in his island’s glittering turquoise waters.

Ankara began threatening to send its seismic survey vessel, Oruc Reis, into the area late last month, upping the stakes in a long-running and unresolved row over the rights to gas discovered around Cyprus. For more than two hours one Monday afternoon in late July, Turkish jets circled low over Kastellorizo, startling the few tourists who were sunbathing beneath.

There was a brief reprieve when President Erdogan agreed to stall Turkey’s explorations in order to hold talks with Athens. But late last week the negotiations broke down, the rhetoric ramped back up and Turkish ships set sail from Antalya on Monday morning. Oruc Reis is now stationed midway between Kastellorizo and Cyprus, accompanied by Ankara’s warships, while Turkish attack helicopters have been circling nearby.

For Mr Papoutsis and the other business owners on the island, the hostility in the skies and the waters are at odds with the warm relations Turks and Greeks enjoy on the ground.

“I can understand it’s a political problem, but it has nothing to do with the people. It’s not normal for these things to be happening every day between us and Turkey,” he told The Times.

“Our relations with the Turkish side were very good. The politicians need to find a solution. They need to finish this.”
Kastellorizo’s proximity to Turkey — it lies four miles from the popular Turkish coastal resort of Kas — is both its blessing and its curse. In a normal summer season, about 60 per cent of the island’s visitors arrive from Turkey. Some are day-trippers who take a break from their Turkish holiday to see its paint box houses and pristine bays.

Others travel to their Greek holiday through Turkish airports and the twice-daily ferry, usually a far quicker route than the plane via Rhodes to the island’s own tiny airport. A few dock their yachts in the harbour — Kastellorizo is a favourite holiday destination for the Turkish elite.

But the proximity also means that the island lies in waters where century-old antagonisms play out. Kemal Ataturk led Turkey’s war of independence against the Greek army following the break up of the Ottoman Empire, seizing back all of the Anatolian mainland, but Athens kept hold of all but four of the islands and islets lying between the two countries, many of which lie in clear sight of the Turkish coast.

According to the UN’s convention on the laws of the sea, a country’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its coastline, including that of its inhabited islands, while shorter distances between countries should be split down the median line. Turkey, though, is one of the few countries that has not signed the convention.

The discovery of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean starting in the late 1990s brought this idiosyncrasy to the fore. Turkey had initially hoped to position itself as a transit hub where gas could be brought ashore and liquified. But following the discovery of the Zohr gas field in 2015, alternative plans were formulated to instead bring the gas ashore in Egypt.

Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Egypt have since signed a series of agreements marking out maritime borders and agreeing pipeline routes, leaving Turkey out in the cold.

In response, from 2017 Ankara began sending the Oruc Reis and the drill ships Fatih and Yavuz into Cypriot waters to start its own explorations, claiming that the Turkish Cypriots were being unfairly excluded from the bounty of the discoveries.

It sent its warships to block the commercial drilling vessels that had been contracted by the Republic of Cyprus. Then, in November, Turkey signed an agreement with Libya’s Tripoli government marking out the waters stretching between the two countries as their respective maritimes territories, despite the fact that the area cuts across several Greek islands and skirts Crete.

Last Thursday, Greece signed a similar agreement with Egypt, slicing across the Turkey-Libya zone and sparking the delicate game of brinkmanship now under way in the sea between Kastellorizo and Cyprus. Greece has put its military on standby. Turkey is insisting it won’t back down.
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 18:26
  #243 (permalink)  
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A friend who works in exploration said he knows that seismic company - “they are rotten. So many people have not been paid by them.”

E&OE, just commenting.
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Old 13th Aug 2020, 06:56
  #244 (permalink)  
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Congress has secretly blocked US arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years

WASHINGTON — Four key members of Congress, either individually or collectively, have quietly frozen all major U.S. arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years in a move to pressure Ankara to abandon its Russian-built S-400 air defense system, Defense News has learned......

Defense News learned of the situation from a half dozen sources in Congress, the administration, and the defense industry, all of whom requested anonymity because of the sensitivities involved.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and House Foreign Affairs ranking member Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, acknowledged they are part of the freeze after they were contacted by Defense News.

The two other lawmakers who can sign off on foreign military sales ― House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., are also part of the hold, according to multiple Capitol Hill sources. Neither would comment for this story.......
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Old 14th Aug 2020, 10:05
  #245 (permalink)  
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The plot thickens...

Report & photos in The Times today:-
Erdogan to retaliate over ‘attack’ on Turkish vessel

Nato allies were on the brink of confrontation last night as President Erdogan suggested that a Turkish ship had been attacked in waters contested by Greece.

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Old 14th Aug 2020, 10:17
  #246 (permalink)  
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Turkish economy/Lira collapsing, talk of an early election. A war might sound like a useful distraction in Ankara.....

Greek military put on high alert as tensions with Turkey rise

Greece has placed its military forces on high alert, recalling its naval and air force officers from leave, as tensions with Turkey over exploration of potentially lucrative offshore energy reserves escalate in the eastern Mediterranean......

Greek Frigate Rams and Damages Turkish warship

Greek and Turkish warships in 'mini collision': defence source

As Turkey’s economy collapses, the Turkish Yeni Şafak Says Greek Islands Must be Invaded.

Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

Erdogan Has Hidden an Economic Disaster Deep in Turkish Banks
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Old 22nd Aug 2020, 04:49
  #247 (permalink)  
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The UAE sending a message to Turkey?

Four Emirati F-16s to arrive in Souda Air Base

Four F-16 fighter jets of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be deployed at the Souda Air Base in Crete in the next few hours, following Thursday’s call between the head of the Greek Armed Forces and his Emirati counterpart.

In the coming days, these aircraft and their crews will carry out joint training with the Greek Armed Forces over the Eastern Mediterranean.

The F-16 crews will be joined by support staff - engineers and ground personnel.

On Thursday, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Konstantinos Floros, discussed developments in the region with UAE’s Lieutenant General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi.

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Old 22nd Aug 2020, 21:13
  #248 (permalink)  
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Wonder how far a countries military can be stretched before their ability to do anything snaps.

Syria / Libya / Irag / Azerbijan etc

Almost if someone is playing "whack a mole" and getting ready to hit them all at once, in a totally uncoordinated action
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Old 23rd Aug 2020, 02:45
  #249 (permalink)  
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Drones flying 24/7 on the West coast of Turkey. Transponder codes 00000001 to 00000010

Also TCT101 is scouting the Syrian border, it is starting to warm up ?

Last edited by zac21; 23rd Aug 2020 at 09:29. Reason: Added info Direction wrong
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Old 26th Aug 2020, 18:53
  #250 (permalink)  
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Article in The Times.
Mediterranean countries step up naval exercises as dispute with Turkey deepens

France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are to hold joint military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, the fourth round of drills in the crowded waters, amid a mounting dispute with Turkey over gas reserves.

Florence Parly, the French armed forces minister, announced the move this morning, saying on Twitter that the region “should not be a playground for the ambitions of some”.

She wrote: “Our message is simple: priority to dialogue, co-operation and diplomacy so that the Eastern Mediterranean becomes an area of stability and respect for international law.”

Turkey sent the Oruc Reis, a seismic survey vessel, into the waters between Crete and Cyprus on August 10, provoking fury from Greece which claims the area as its sovereign territory.

Athens has held two rounds of war games since then, with France and then with the UAE. Turkey conducted military and aerial drills over the weekend and issued a navigational warning that it will hold another round this week.

Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, visited Athens and Ankara yesterday to try to mediate in the dispute. In a joint press conference with Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, Mr Maas said that both sides were “ready for dialogue” and warned that the mounting militarisation of the region was “playing with fire . . . no one wants to settle this conflict militarily, which would be absolute madness”.

Hours later, however, Mr Cavusoglu gave a televised speech in which he vowed that Turkey would “defend [its] rights”.

President Erdogan reiterated that message this morning. “We will not compromise what is ours . . . we are determined to do whatever is necessary,” he said at an event to mark the first military victory in Anatolia of the Seljuk Turks.

The new exercises begin today to the south of Cyprus, close to where another Turkish vessel, the drill ship Yavuz, is stationed. France will send three Rafale fighter jets and an assault ship equipped with a helicopter. They exercises will continue until Friday.

Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the Greek defence minister, said that the aim was “to demonstrate the commitment of the four European Mediterranean countries to the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions”.
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Old 27th Aug 2020, 17:00
  #251 (permalink)  
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More sabre-rattling in the Med. Article in The Times.

Erdogan ignores Trump’s plea for calm by ordering new military drills

Turkey has said it will hold a new round of military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, in defiance of a plea from President Trump to ease tensions.

Mr Trump held separate phone calls with President Erdogan and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, last night regarding the long-running dispute over maritime sovereignty that has been reignited by the discovery of undersea gas reserves.

Turkey insists that both it and the Turkish-speaking population of Cyprus should share in the spoils but they have been excluded by a series of agreements between Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.

Mr Erdogan has responded by sending Turkish survey vessels and drill ships into the region, prompting Greece to stage a series of joint military exercises with France, the UAE, Cyprus and Italy.

Turkey has been holding its own drills in the area, the latest of which was announced today, comprising live-fire exercises in the sea northeast of Cyprus next week. It has also extended the mission of Oruc Reis, a survey ship stationed between Cyprus and Crete, to September 1. It had been due to return to port today.

According to the US embassy in Athens, Mr Trump “expressed concern over increased tension between Nato allies” and “reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences.”

However, neither side is showing any inclination to back down. Greece has ratified its maritime agreements with Italy and Egypt, and has extended its sea borders from six to twelve nautical miles west into the Ionian sea. Turkey has warned that any similar expansion eastwards would be a cause for war.

Hulusi Akar, the Turkish defence minister, branded Greece’s claims on the area “irrational” and vowed that Turkey would continue its drills for “as long as necessary”. He added: “We respect the territorial integrity of all our neighbours. We have not set our sights on anyone’s lands or seas. However, we want everyone to know that we will not allow an attack against us.”

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Old 28th Aug 2020, 17:24
  #252 (permalink)  
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Turkish and Greek F‑16 planes in ‘dogfight’ over Mediterranean

How soon before someone becomes trigger-happy?
In The Times.
Turkish and Greek F‑16 planes in ‘dogfight’ over Mediterranean
Turkish and Greek fighter jets have engaged in a mock dogfight over the eastern Mediterranean, the second direct confrontation between the two Nato powers this month.

Ankara sent F-16s to intercept six Greek jets as they returned from Cyprus — where they had been participating in war games — to their base in Crete.

The Greek defence ministry said that its jets, also F-16s, called for back-up at 11.30am yesterday, and then “proceeded to the immediate recognition and interception of the Turkish aircraft”.

The contact came only hours after President Trump held separate phone calls with President Erdogan and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, urging both to “commit to dialogue”. Earlier this month a Greek frigate clipped a Turkish navy ship during war games close to Crete.

Last night Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of Nato, said that the alliance would mediate in the spiralling dispute by “developing mechanisms to prevent incidents and accidents”.

“The fact that there are so many ships, so many military capabilities in a quite limited area, that in itself is a reason for concern,” Mr Stoltenberg told Reuters.

The Greek air force had been participating in joint naval and aerial drills with Cypriot, French and Italian forces, the latest in a serious of increasingly confrontational exercises in the triangle of waters between Cyprus, Crete and the Turkish coast.

Turkey has also been holding drills in the area, and has sent its warships to accompany the Oruc Reis, a seismic survey ship, which is currently stationed midway between Cyprus and Crete, in waters that both Turkey and Greece have laid claim to.

A Turkish drill ship, Yavuz, is currently positioned to the southwest of Cyprus, in the Cypriots’ exclusive economic zone. Total and Eni, the French and Italian hydrocarbons behemoths, have been handed licences to survey and drill in the area, but suspended their operations in May due to Turkey’s increasingly belligerent presence.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 09:32
  #253 (permalink)  
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Yet another bout of sabre-rattling - article in The Times today.

New Greek expansion in Med would be act of war, warns Turkey

Turkey has said that any attempt by Greece to expand its maritime border would be an “act of war” as it prepares for new military drills north of Cyprus this week.

Leaders of Nato, of which both countries are member states, and the European Union are trying to calm tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. But Turkey has continued to issue threats over Greece’s insistence that its islands allow it to claim rights over much of the Aegean. The Turkish Ministry of Defence has posted a video on its website of what it said was a confrontation between its F-16 fighters and Greek warplanes on Thursday, with the Turkish jet apparently “locking on” to its Greek rival.
Greece said the Turkish planes had entered its airspace as its F-16s were accompanying an American B-52 bomber, one of six that were on a highly symbolic 24-hour flight over the territories of all 30 Nato members in an appeal for unity.

The two nations have been locked in a dispute for months about maritime control and drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Last week Greece announced that it was extending its maritime border to the west from six to twelve nautical miles.

A similar shift in the Aegean, where several Greek islands lie within 12 miles of the Turkish coast, would be regarded there as a highly hostile act. Some Turkish politicians already argue that the islands, on which tens of thousands of Greek citizens live, should more naturally fall under Ankara’s control.

“If the Greek attempt to expand its territorial waters isn’t a casus belli, then what is?” Fuat Oktay, the Turkish vice-president, told the state news agency. He added that Turkey would “protect its rights on every cubic metre in the eastern Mediterranean waters, no matter what.”

Turkey has long claimed greater rights to maritime control than those set out by existing international treaties, and in particular those asserted by the EU. It says the Greek claim of jurisdiction around its myriad Aegean islands and the international non-recognition of Turkish Northern Cyprus restricts it to what President Erdogan has called “fishing off the beach with a rod”.

It has sent an oil exploration vessel to the southwest coast of Cyprus and signed a bilateral agreement carving up notional control of the eastern Mediterranean with the government of western Libya, which it backs in a civil war against the east.

Footage from the Turkish jet appeared to show it targeting the Greek fighter

The dispute has sucked in countries across Europe and the Middle East. Both France and Egypt, which back the eastern side in Libya, have sprung to Greece’s defence; Egypt signing a maritime control treaty with Athens in retaliation for Turkey’s deal with Tripoli.

The United Arab Emirates, hostile to Mr Erdogan’s brand of Islamist politics, sent F-16s to train with Greece last week.

The EU held a two-day summit on the crisis, ending on Friday. Josep Borrell, its foreign affairs chief, issued a statement calling for dialogue but also threatening to impose sanctions if Ankara did not de-escalate — which further enraged Turkey. “It is insincere for the EU to call for dialogue on the one hand and make different plans on the other,” Mr Oktay said.

Mr Erdogan, accused by the Greeks of harbouring “neo-Ottoman” ambitions, referred to the period after the First World War when France, along with Britain, attempted to reduce the size of the rump Turkish state. That led to a four-year, bitter war, known to Turkey as the War of Independence, and the expulsion of nearly all Turkey’s Greek population from the mainland.

In a tub-thumping speech on Victory Day marking the war’s 98th anniversary, Mr Erdogan said: “It is absolutely not a coincidence that those who seek to exclude us from the eastern Mediterranean are the same invaders as the ones who attempted to invade our homeland a century ago.”

Shifting sands of allegiance

So many nations are manoeuvring in the eastern Mediterranean that it seems like a re-run of the 16th century, when Spaniards, Venetians, Barbary pirates and the Ottoman empire grappled for dominance.

The 21st-century version has pitted Turkish and American warships training together on one side, and on the other jets from Greece, Cyprus, Italy and France. Last week there was a new entrant: the UAE, 2,000 miles away on the shores of the Gulf, sent F-16 fighters to show its support for the Greeks.

Turkey has become a unifying force for opponents on all sides: to the west in Greece, to the south in Egypt, and to the southeast, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which dislike its support for political Islam.

The division across the Middle East was already stark. The two Gulf states opposed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which Turkey and Qatar backed, and support President Sisi. In Syria Turkey continues to back rebels in the northwest, while the UAE has reopened an embassy in Damascus. In Libya they back opposite sides.

None of these conflicts affects Greece much; the alliance seems to exist entirely because of their shared opposition to President Erdogan’s ambitions.

Some EU states, such as France, back Greece; others call for reconciliation with Turkey. Which side is in the right is less important now than which side is building the stronger alliance. The UAE’s decision to recognise Israel, although made for other reasons, establishes a network of anti-Turkey, anti-Islamist nations stretching from France, through Greece, to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

In the 16th century Turkey emerged the dominant power. It now looks rather surrounded.

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 10:21
  #254 (permalink)  
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Some EU states, such as France, back Greece; others call for reconciliation with Turkey
Not so much support as the EU is looking at implementing sanctions......

EU mulls sanctions on Turkey over Eastern Mediterranean tensions
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 12:51
  #255 (permalink)  
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Did Erdogan order his generals to sink a Greek warship?

Could war finally be coming to the eastern Mediterranean? It’s not as excitable a question as it might first appear.

In an article titled, '
Erdogan’s calculated war,' the German newspaper Die Welt quoted sources from the Turkish military saying that president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had recently ordered his generals to sink a Greek warship, without inflicting casualties. They refused. Then came the suggestion to down a Greek aircraft. Again, they refused.....

So far much of all this is brinkmanship and signalling. If the report is true, Erdogan wanted to make a statement without actually killing any Greek troops. The problem comes not with intent but mistake or miscalculation. Brinkmanship can turn into disastrous calamity. Because if the report is true, it also showed a Turkish leader who is willing, if not eager, to escalate the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, to the point of militarily attacking his geopolitical opponent and energy competitor.
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 13:04
  #256 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Not so much support as the EU is looking at implementing sanctions......

EU mulls sanctions on Turkey over Eastern Mediterranean tensions

If any of said EU members who vote for sanctions against Turkey are also NATO members and war does ensue, will they side with or against their NATO ally I wonder?
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 13:35
  #257 (permalink)  
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Pretty bizarre escalation given that Turkey seriously needs long time financial aid, market access and economic support from the EU. Something that (not only) Greece or France might easily block.
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 14:18
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If there are enough people left with opposing views, after the last attempt, this could lead to an internal replacement being sought for Erdogan sooner rather than later I would think.
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 10:06
  #259 (permalink)  
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Article in The Times today.
US opens talks on moving airbase to punish Erdogan

Mike Pompeo will use a visit to Greece this week to explore proposals to relocate key American assets from the Incirlik airbase in Turkey to Crete, as the US looks to beef up its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean.

The visit by the secretary of state is seen as a sign of Washington’s waning patience with President Erdogan of Turkey over his anti-western rhetoric and his decision last year to buy a sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft system despite fierce objections from the US and other Nato allies.

“Whether Washington can move all its assets, including nuclear arsenal, from the Incirlik, remains unclear,” Athanasios Drougos, a defence analyst based in Athens, said. “But the mere fact that Pompeo is coming here to reinforce the message that the US is actively pursuing alternative options is a stinging thorn in Erdogan’s side.”

The Incirlik base, set up at the height of the Cold War near Turkey’s frontier with Syria, has long been vital to US strategic interests in the Middle East. It has most recently been used as a launchpad for US-led airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Ron Johnson, head of the Senate foreign relations subcommittee for Europe, suggested this month that the US was considering an alternative: Souda Bay, a US naval facility on the northwest coast of Crete, which Mr Pompeo is due to visit tomorrow.

It is Mr Pompeo’s second visit to the region in two weeks. “US interest and presence in the greater region here is hugely important,” Mr Drougos said. “But coupled with growing designs by Russia and China to assert influence in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s advances in Libya and illegal drilling in the region, Pompeo’s timing is hugely important.”

He added: “The US naval base in Souda Bay now acquires a much bigger and strategically important role.”

Relations between Greece and Turkey — Nato allies but age-old foes — have deteriorated dramatically in the weeks since the Turks dispatched a research vessel to survey for gas and oil near Crete. Mr Pompeo waded into the crisis, leading Turkey to pull back its research vessel and Greece to agree to “exploratory” talks next month.

Details have yet to be announced but Greece has already insisted that it will discuss only maritime differences. Turkey wants open discussions. “The chances of a breakthrough in these talks look slim,” Mr Drougos said. “But at least the tension is down for now.”

Mr Pompeo will also visit the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki to sign bilateral technology agreements with energy companies looking to build infrastructure projects in the Balkans.

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Old 28th Sep 2020, 10:44
  #260 (permalink)  
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So do the US fear to loose Turkey to Russia?
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