Turkey Flexes Military Muscle in Maritime Feud With Greece | World Defense

Turkey Flexes Military Muscle in Maritime Feud With Greece

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Turkey Flexes Military Muscle in Maritime Feud With Greece

Turkey launched naval exercises off two Greek islands and announced energy exploration research in the same area, projecting its military might amid heightened territorial tussles in the eastern Mediterranean.

The naval drills to the east and south of Rhodes and Kastellorizo were announced on Aug. 6 — the same day Egypt and Greece signed an agreement laying out the maritime boundary between their exclusive economic zones. Turkey, which has signed a similar maritime deal with Libya with the same purpose, has called the agreement between Greece and Egypt null and void, and accused Athens of failing to abide by pledges to bilaterally solve territorial disputes in energy-rich waters of the Mediterranean.

Turkey doesn’t recognize Greece’s claim that its territorial waters start immediately south of Kastellorizo, the most distant Greek outpost. The gunnery exercises that will run through Tuesday, according to a Turkish navy website, are a message that Ankara won’t accept any agreement or move that would limit its own maritime interests in the Mediterranean.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was scheduled to chair a meeting in Athens of the Government Council for National Security on Monday. Greek Minister of State Yiorgos Gerapetritis told state-run ERT TV that his country was prepared to counter any Turkish move, and people familiar with the matter said he’ll be speaking with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later Monday.

Mitsotakis to Speak With NATO’s Stoltenberg Amid Turkey Tensions

“We were engaged in talks with Greece for the last two-and-a-half months in Berlin and had even agreed on a joint statement but Greece announced its deal with Egypt just a day before it,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told CNN-Turk television in an interview late Sunday. “It is out of question for us to approve any move that will condemn Turkey to the bay of Antalya and exclude it from the eastern Mediterranean. But we still prefer to solve issues through dialogue.”

Turkey resumed oil and natural gas exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean after the Greek-Egyptian deal was signed, having put it on hold at the request of Germany’s Angela Merkel to make it easier for her to mediate between Athens and Ankara.

“We’ve received Turkey’s decision to carry out further seismic probes in the eastern Mediterranean with concern,” the German Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Christofer Burger, said during a news conference in Berlin on Monday, urging both Greece and Turkey to resume talks. “That’s the wrong signal. Unilateral steps don’t bring us forward a single bit. Moreover, Turkey further burdens its relationship with the EU.”

Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said in a Twitter post that the Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship was dispatched to the Mediterranean on Monday.

The eastern Mediterranean has become a gas hot spot with big finds for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt in recent years. Turkey — which sent troops to northern Cyprus in the wake of a 1974 coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece — vehemently opposes the Cypriot drilling without an agreement on sharing any proceeds. It also has plans to drill in those waters, over the objections of Cyprus, which considers the Turkish exploration an infringement of its territorial sovereignty.

The internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus has licensed several offshore exploration blocks, some of them located in disputed waters. Cyprus has an agreement with Exxon Mobil, Total SA and Eni SpA for oil and natural gas exploration rights in an area where Turkey wants to drill.

The European Union has said it is weighing sanctions against Turkey over its oil and natural-gas exploration off Cyprus.

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Egypt and Greece just have their maritime boundaries delimited. Turkey now feels the squeeze.

But we still prefer to solve issues through dialogue
Rich coming from Erdogan! How many times again have Turkey violated the airspace of Greece?
 

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Egypt and Greece just have their maritime boundaries delimited. Turkey now feels the squeeze.



Rich coming from Erdogan! How many times again have Turkey violated the airspace of Greece?
constantly, you have countries that are finding this time we are living in, an opportunity to expand, I guess it's a matter of when the rest of the world decides to put it's foot down to these expansionists, or are they going to wait till the only answer is another world war
 

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France-Cyprus defense cooperation pact takes effect
Aug. 7, 2020

A defense cooperation agreement between France and Cyprus, three years in the making, is now in force, the Cypriot government announced this week.

The two-year agreement "provides for cooperation in the fields of armaments and defense technology, and staff training in France's military schools," officials said.

Leaders also agreed to "hold joint exercises and organize mutual visits in the framework of activities of the armed forces of the two countries," Charlambos Petridis, current Cypriot defense minister, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, former Cypriot Defense Minister Savvas Angelides announced improvements to a navy base in the port of Limassol to accommodate French military vessels.

The agreement calls for improved teamwork between Paris and Nicosia in defense technology and search and rescue execution.

Non-military elements of the agreement include cooperation in dealing with energy, maritime security, terrorism and piracy. It was signed in 2017 and put into force of Aug. 1, 2020, the two governments said on Friday.

Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, is a European Union member, but not a NATO member. Its military uses aircraft made by several countries, including France.

The agreement is part of an effort by France to exercise more influence in the region.

In July, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met with French President Emmanuel Macron, prompting Macron to call on the EU to come down harder on Turkey for provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

"Macron is working toward that direction," Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said of France's aspiration to wield more influence. He added that Macron will lead a meeting of seven southern EU member states in Paris at the end of August.
 

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Tensions Escalate Over Turkish Drilling Plans in East Mediterranean
By Anthee Carassava
Updated August 10, 2020
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FILE - Turkey's exploratory vessel, the Oruc Reis, is seen anchored in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Antalya, Turkey, July 24, 2020.

ATHENS - Greece's entire armed forces are on emergency alert Monday following Turkey's decision to send a vessel to explore potential drilling sites off the coast of two Greek islands in the southeast Aegean Sea. The escalation comes after Greece and Egypt signed a maritime deal blocking Turkish access to the Eastern Mediterranean — a move that has enraged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading him to flex his country's muscle in a long-running territorial tussle.

Defense ministry officials denied that reservists had been called up overnight as a result of the brewing crisis.

Still, the same sources tell VOA that Greece's entire military apparatus is on red alert, monitoring Turkey's movements after the neighboring state launched naval drills east and south of the islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo in the southeast Aegean Sea over the weekend.

The drills include live fire, and most worrying for Greece, Ankara on Monday also sent out the vessel Oruc Reis to survey the continental shelf in an area in the Eastern Mediterranean, which both Greece and Turkey consider their own.

While both NATO allies, the two neighboring countries have been challenging each other's air and sea rights in the region for decades.

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FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a protective face mask as she arrives for the continuation of an EU summit meeting in Brussels, Belgium, July 20, 2020.
The two countries came to the brink of war more than 20 years ago. Just last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on a fresh territorial tussle between the two, convincing Erdogan to back off from sending the Oruc Reis on a similar expedition in the same region.

Both sides agreed to a moratorium, promising to refrain from any hostile action until sitting down at a negotiating table later this month to try and sort out differences.

But in the past week, Greece has angered Turkey with what Ankara has billed a breach of the moratorium — a maritime agreement that Athens secretly clinched with Egypt, limiting Ankara's influence and energy designs in the region.

As a result, Erdogan ordered out the Oruc Reis, sending it on its initial expedition escorted by Turkish battleships, which Ankara has said it will use if Greece makes any attempt to block the vessel from its course.

On Monday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chaired an urgent meeting of his national security council. A terse announcement issued after the hourlong meeting said officials had assessed the situation and reviewed Greece's response to any Turkish provocation, as they put it.

Since then, Mitsotakis has also briefed leading European officials, and he is due to speak to the Secretary-General of NATO, insisting, as his advisers tell VOA, that the U.S.-led military alliance weigh in against Turkey.

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FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug 7, 2020.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, meantime, says Greece remains ready to sit down and talk with Turkey.
"We understand that Turkey has called off the talks. But I am surprised it has done so," Dendias said. "Maybe it is the result of some inexplicable rage. We can only hope it comes back to its senses."

The stakes are high, and Greece has warned it will use force to block any Turkish encroachment of its sea and land rights.

Experts like Costantinos Filis expect the crisis to escalate before it eases to any show of rapprochement.
"I expect the tension to grow in the coming days. But ultimately, the fate of the feeble Turkish economy will weigh in on any final decision Erdogan will take," Filis said.

If Erdogan feels Europeans are serious about their threats to retaliate, then he will probably think twice about making any risky moves. Then again, Filis says, Erdogan is extremely unpredictable, and if he feels he is cornered, he may ultimately go for a daring move to cater to his domestic audience alone.

EU leaders already have threatened Turkey with economic sanctions.
 

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Greece - Hellenic Army detected the infiltration of a Turkish submarine in the Strait of Kafireas

Posted on 14. August 2020 by iscr
A Turkish submarine, Type-209 was located and pursued by Greek anti-submarine helicopters last night in the area of Cape Kafireas in Evia, a few miles off the coast of Attica, as reported by absolutely reliable sources of the Ministry of Defense.
The Turkish submarine was initially detected by PN detection systems in the northern region and then in the central Aegean with a southwesterly course.
Somewhere there the trace was lost. The DEN (Navy Helicopter Command) was instructed to investigate and pursue the Turkish submarine which was approaching the coast of Attica.
The pursuit was initially undertaken by the S-70B-6 Aegean Hawk. A total of three Aegean Hawks were used in the search to locate the Turkish submarine, but in the first phase it was not possible to achieve its target.
Then he received an order from one of the old, but extremely reliable to date, anti-submarine war helicopter AB-212 ASW (photo) to NOT rush to locate him.
Around 20.00 in the evening, the crew of AB-212, having launched their sonar, located the Turkish submarine moving between Evia and Andros in the direction of the coasts of eastern Attica!
The trail was extremely weak at first, but the Greek anti-submarine helicopters managed with the appropriate approach to improve its detection parameters.
Greek surface ships rushed to the area, taking in real time the parameters of anti-submarine weapons firing from the helicopter, which left at around 21.00, leaving its “booty” to those who would sink the Turkish ship in conditions of armed conflict.
There was briefing at the highest level of the political and military leadership and it was decided that there would be no armed action but its monitoring and readiness to sink.
The move of the Turks to send a submarine almost to the shores of Attica during the crisis with the Oruc Reis, shows that they are willing to “pull the rope to the ends”. In this case, the “rope” would become a “noose” that would suffocate them.
The AB 212 ASW / EW is an anti-submarine helicopter with a crew of three: two pilots and a radar and weapons pilot and is an anti-submarine helicopter with a crew of three: two pilots and a radar and weapons pilot and is all-weather.
 

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Turkish jet severely damaged after dogfight with Greek Pilot

At the peak of tensions between Greece and Turkey in the East Mediterranean, the 40-year-old Greek frigate Limnos significantly damaged the Kemal Reis, the flagship of the Turkish Navy that was violating Greece’s maritime space whilst escorting the Oruç Reis research vessel.

However, as previously reported, only days after the Limnos severely damaged the Kemal Reis, specifically on August 20, a pair of Turkish F-16 fighter jets attempted to intervene in a Greek military exercise between the Army and the Air Force that was taking place close to the island of Rhodes. The Greek Air Force once again showed why their pilots are superior and why they have won in consecutive years NATO’s “Best Warrior” awards when they allowed the Turkish pair to penetrate deep into Greece’s airspace before appearing out of nowhere and trapping the Turkish jets in a pincer movement.

The Turkish pilots, especially the second pilot of the pair, panicked and in a rush returned to Dalaman airport low on fuel.

According to newer information revealed by Defense Point, one of the two Turkish fighters landed with the engine out of operation, which made it even more difficult for the pilot to control the fighter jet during the landing phase.

The pilot could not land the aircraft normally and it ended up in a ditch off the runway.

According to Defense Point, the pilot was not injured and came out of the fighter jet safely.

The same could not be said for the Turkish fighter jet however, which suffered serious material damage, so-much-so that the repair costs was not worth restoring the fighter jet to flight condition.

Considering that the cost of buying an F-16C Block40/50/50 Adv fighter jet is several tens of millions of dollars, then one realizes that the Greek-Turkish crisis was an extremely costly affair for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and not only to fuel Turkey’s warships and war jets, but also the repair costs of the Kemal Reis and the loss of a fighter jet.
 
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