The Greek government is throwing the paper on NATO cohesion and EU credibility on the table at a time when Turkey is escalating its challenges and aggressive moves in the eastern Mediterranean.
In one way or another, the last 24 hours from Athens show the dissatisfaction that exists both for NATO’s role as Pontius Pilate in Greek-Turkish, but also for the game of delays with EU sanctions such as scares Ankara.
It is no coincidence that the messages sent by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to NATO Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
A little later last night at 20 Kyriakos Mitsotakis was called by US President Donald Trump (US President also had a telephone conversation with Erdogan) and according to the Prime Minister’s Office, Mitsotakis raised the issue of Turkey’s destabilizing measures, threatening “peace and stability in the wider region and testing NATO cohesion. “
Trump’s second phone call
But it also followed Trump’s second phone call with Mr. Mitsotakis, who became known today and without providing further information from the Maximos Palace about the contents of Mr Trump’s second conversation with Kyriakos Mitsotakis that followed the telephone conversation he had with Turkish President Erdogan.
Following the above, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias condemned “continued Turkish crime” during a meeting earlier today in Berlin with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg, and according to diplomatic sources in the four men, the four men stressed that “NATO cannot tolerate such behavior, which violates the principles” and undermines the cohesion and effectiveness of the Alliance. “
I met @NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg. Focus on developments in #EasternMediterrane & Turkey’s illegal actions. #Berlin pic.twitter.com/vco0kFB0UO
– Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) August 27, 2020
A similar climate, although not expressed in exactly the same way, exists in Athens and in relation to the obstacle of the EU and in particular Germany, which holds the Presidency of the Union, to sanctions and dynamic responses to Ankara.
The government spokesman in connection with the informal meeting with EU foreign ministers today and tomorrow said in a stern tone that the government is waiting for Josep Borrell to present a specific list of sanctions.
In fact, Petsas stressed that the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has “committed” and “has a mandate” to present this list of sanctions, saying that “in any case, the way is clear: either phasing out or sanctions” .
In fact, with the phrase “Cretton lalein the zypsy” The government spokesman expressed irritation at the Maximos Palace for the dialogue between Mr. Borel and the German defense minister, who recorded the open microphones, in which Borel claims that Turkey is annoyed by the Greece-Egypt agreement on the EEZ and does not take the Greeks into account reliably.
Of course, decisions on sanctions cannot be taken at today’s and tomorrow’s meeting with EU foreign ministers due to the informal nature of the meeting, but the fact that either the issue is being downgraded by Brussels or is constantly being postponed is causing the Greek Government trouble.
While Turkey is dangerously increasing tensions and taking steps to maintain the deteriorating situation in the eastern Mediterranean, Germany continues to speak loudly about dialogue and downsizing, and to avoid raising tones against Turkey.
Let’s not reach a military confrontation
In this context o Haiko Maas a day after the German mediation sank – and in a climate similar to his statements NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg– expressed its concern at the situation in the region and spoke of the danger of “military confrontation” coming to EU Foreign Ministers.
“We are still very concerned about developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the escalation and the challenges that lie ahead. In my talks in Athens and Ankara, I asked for peeling. We will see what happens at the end of this month, where the ships will go, and we will also ask here to create the conditions for Turkey and Greece to solve the problems immediately and to contribute everything so as not to “We will reach a military confrontation, “said Maas.
The German Foreign Minister added that “no one wants to resolve this dispute in the eastern Mediterranean with warships. Direct talks between Athens and Ankara must also take place. The situation is still very difficult. The preconditions for these talks are to end the existing movements in the eastern Mediterranean. can contribute to this and thus create space for diplomatic talks. “Because the sides will certainly not be sitting at the table if there are warships facing each other in the eastern Mediterranean.”
With the EU High Representative, @ JosepBorrellF, and the German Foreign Minister, @HeikoMaas, at the informal EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting focusing on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. # EU2020DE #Berlin #Gymnich #EU #HRVP #Germany pic.twitter.com/18QbdNqzBu
– Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) August 27, 2020
Conflict prevention mechanism
At the same time o NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told ReutersNATO says it is looking for ways to avoid conflicts in the eastern Mediterranean, while supporting Germany’s diplomatic efforts to ease growing tensions over energy resources in the region.
In particular, Stoltenberg spoke of a mechanism to prevent and suppress tensions to prevent “maritime accidents” and incidents in the region, although he did not go into detail.
“I am exploring NATO’s capabilities to develop mechanisms to prevent incidents and accidents, a set of mechanisms to prevent conflicts,” he said.
“The fact that there are so many ships in the area, so many troops in such a limited area, is a cause for concern,” Stoltenberg said.
It is worth noting that government spokesman Stelios Petsas, when asked during a briefing by political writers, denied publication of German SPIEGEL according to which the Prime Minister did not agree to sanctions against Turkey contrary to the position of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendia.
“There is no such disagreement as it was presented in the foreign article, and it does not at all reflect the reality of the discussion with Mr Maas, where I was present,” Mr Petsas said.
In this climate where “mediators” talk about the risk of “military confrontation” by keeping essentially equal distances and avoiding directly blaming Turkey for the intensity and risk of military involvement, NATO Secretary-General Nikos Dendias reiterated that “Greece shows calm, but at the same time will defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights “.
This includes preparations for the extension of the coastal zone to 120 km south of Crete following announcements of the Ionian Sea.
It turns out who is causing it
But the government’s line of defense The pressure from the international factor for dialogue was reflected in the Mitsotakis phrase in parliament that “the challenges remain, the discussions begin” and this message was sent to US President Trump, making it clear that it is not Greece that is causing the tension in the Mediterranean.
In this spirit, diplomatic sources commented after all current offensive measures in Turkey“Again, it has been proven who wants to step down and who does not.” Who pretends to be in dialogue and who really means him. “