Monday, March 1, 2021

Greece races to boost military after Turkey threats over Med oil

Both Turkey and Greece are flexing their military muscles by deploying their naval and air forces as visible deterrents to any adventurism by the other.

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Eastern Mediterranean Sea oil and gas discoveries and exploration rights are pitting Turkey against Greece and Cyprus, reports Associated Press.

Estimates put the size of the deposits at around two billion barrels of oil and four trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Such numbers would generate huge amounts of wealth.

Both Turkey and Greece are flexing their military muscles by deploying their naval and air forces as visible deterrents to any adventurism by the other.

The two countries, both Nato allies but rivals for centuries, are posturing and creeping toward a possible military confrontation.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said, “The Turkish leadership is unleashing, on a near-daily basis, threats of war and makes provocative statements against Greece.”

He added that Greece is determined to do whatever is necessary to protect its sovereign rights, including the use of force if required.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Greece’s military “dilapidated”. He has also criticised the EU, which has backed EU member Greece in the dispute.

Greek media are reporting possible purchases of new military hardware which may include French-made Rafale fighter jets and at least one French frigate.

France and Italy have now joined Greece and Cyprus for joint naval exercises, a move likely to raise the temperature further in the region.

During a visit to Cyprus on Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on fellow Nato member Turkey to cease tension-raising activities in the eastern Mediterranean.

He urged all sides to use diplomacy.

The roots of the current tensions stretch back to 2019, explains International Business Times, when a loose consortium to develop hydrocarbon resources in the East Mediterranean was formed by Israel, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Turkey was left out, and Erdogan has held a grudge ever since,

Greece and Turkey have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once over exploration rights in the Aegean Sea.

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