Turkey and Greece are neighbouring nations with a long history of acrimonious and convoluted relations dating back to the era of the Ottoman Empire. However, in recent decades their hostilities have escalated to the point that a catastrophic military showdown in the Mediterranean seems inevitable.
In 1987 and 1996, the brinkmanship between Ankara and Athens regarding Greek sovereignty over the Aegean Sea and its airspace brought the two NATO member countries to the verge of war.
Issues such as maritime borders, flight zones, contested sea territories, and the alleged abuses against the 100,000-strong Turkish minority in the Greek region of Thrace have regularly stoked tensions between Ankara and Athens.
According to Greek authorities, Ankara has chosen confrontation by ramping up its rhetoric against Greece and severing all communication channels. On the other hand, Turkey persistently asserts that Greece has militarised the contested eastern Aegean islands.
In the latest flare-up between Ankara and Athens, the Turkish authorities have accused Greece of disrupting Turkish Airlines’ flight path in international airspace and have lodged complaints with NATO, and the United Nations about the Greek military provocations in the Aegean disputed islands.
As hostilities between the two countries are approaching a boiling point, a Greek retired general, Yiannis Egolfopoulos, threatened to blow up İstanbul’s strategic bridges.
“Hey Greek, look at history. Go back to history. If you go too far, it will cost a lot. We have only one sentence for Greece, don’t forget İzmir,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday, September 4th.
Erdoğan was alluding to the 1922 Turkish Independence War, in which the Greek army suffered a humiliating defeat in the western Turkish province of İzmir.
“Occupying the islands does not bind us. We will do what is necessary when the time comes. As we say, we can come suddenly one night,” Erdoğan added.
In January 2019, Turkey’s strongman, Erdoğan, threatened to “throw Greeks Into the sea.”
In the meantime, Turkish media have reported that Greece violated Turkish airspace and territorial waters 1,616 times last year and 1,123 times in the first eight months of 2022.
On the other hand, the Greek daily Ekathimerini published a report based on information from the General Staff of the Greek Armed Forces that the period between January and July of 2022 was the worst in terms of Turkish breaches of Greek airspace in the preceding 14 years. In this respect, the Turkish Air Force breached Greek airspace 78 times in a single day last month, according to the Russian online publication Vzglyad. In reaction, Greek warplanes intercepted Turkish planes, and their missile systems locked on the Turkish intruding jets.
In recent years, Greece has attempted shrewdly to transform its disagreements with Turkey into disputes with the European Union, the United States, and NATO. According to observers, the most salient ramification of the current Greco-Turkish conflict is the deepening of schisms among NATO member states, which portends the disintegration of the moribund pre-Cold War alliance.
Today, Turkey and Greece are relentlessly seeking to forge new regional alliances by signing agreements with neighbouring countries, like Egypt.
Other NATO members, losing their internal cohesiveness and unity, are dangerously fuelling the hostilities in pursuit of their self-interests rather than attempting to defuse the mounting tensions that may explode into a full-fledged military conflagration.
What is evident is that the looming confrontation between these Turks and Greeks will only serve the United States’ money-hungry weapons industry and, of course, the Zionist regime, which, by supplying weapons to both countries, would plunge the region and the world into yet another vicious cycle of death and carnage.