The Greeks ready to respond to Turkish provocations

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has placed the Greek Armed Forces on high alert. The reason for this is the frequent Turkish provocations in the Aegean Sea. During the last three days, Turkish military aircraft have violated Greek airspace daily. In response, the Greeks have decided to start large-scale military exercises.

Relations between the two countries

Greece and Turkey’s relations have traditionally been hostile, despite the fact that both countries are members of the NATO military bloc. During the 1919-1922 war, the Greek population of Anatolia was expelled, despite the fact that the Greeks had lived there long before the arrival of the Turks. Greece lost the former territories of the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor, which it previously claimed. In the second half of the 20th century, both countries clashed during the Cyprus conflict.

The geopolitics of the conflict

The conflict in the Aegean Sea has geopolitical connotations. Greece controls a large part of the islands off the coast of Turkey, effectively turning the Aegean Sea into their own internal sea. Thus, Greece "landlocks" Turkey, which nullifies Turkish benefits from a fairly extended Mediterranean coast. Greece and Turkey, regarding international law and their territorial waters and airspace, interpret the cause of conflict differently.

The factor of migrants

The Turkish side managed to turn Greek control over the Aegean Sea from a geopolitical advantage into a hindrance by using the flow of migrants. The problem of migrants is implicit in the agenda of the new exercises, although officially the authorities denied it. The troops are concentrated in the Aegean Sea and on the border with Macedonia, and in both regions there were migrant riots. In addition, the inner tension in Macedonia has intensified.