Will Turkey kindle the torch of war in NATO?

What lies at the heart of the media pickup of the Turkish and Greek media, who needs a war and why the smoldering conflict between Ankara and Athens is remembered now

Will Turkey kindle the torch of war in NATO?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo © Shutterstock

Autumn will show whether Turkey will kindle the torch of war in NATO, where two countries of the North Atlantic Alliance will clash in a long-standing smoldering conflict. Behind the media spat by the Turkish and Greek media, most likely lies an attempt by Turkey to measure the reaction of its closest allies and calculate the further actions of Greece, which this time seems to have retreated. The “Aegean question”, part of which is the dispute over the rights to the waters of the Aegean Sea, is seen on the agenda again.

Turkish media, citing sources in the Turkish Ministry of Defense, reported that Greece launched a missile from the S-300 system at Turkish aircraft carrying out a reconnaissance mission. This situation can be called the signal of Athens, but there is only one step from the signal rocket to the war.

The Turkish Air Force provoked the Greek military to find out the location of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in Crete. The episode is believed to have taken place on August 23, west of Rhodes at an altitude of 10,000 feet, when the S-300 system “captured” a Turkish F-16 that was on a reconnaissance mission, CNN Türk explains the version of the incident.

The Greek military department denied this statement, calling it a myth: “Athens did not use its S-300 anti-aircraft missile system against Turkish F-16 fighters over the Aegean Sea.”

Turkish expansion towards Greece is growing, moreover, Ankara is looking for casus belli. The planned flights of the Turkish Air Force in disputed waters are probably only the first phase of intensive reconnaissance. Just a few days before the incident over Crete, two Turkish F-16 fighters were harassed by Greek F-16s while on a NATO mission in the Aegean.

Erdogan’s signals

It is not for nothing that today the columnist of the largest pro-government Turkish publication Sabah, Erhan Afyoncu, recalls the preparatory stage of the new Greco-Turkish war in a publication with a loud headline “How we deceived the Greek troops in the Great Offensive.”

It would seem that we are talking about the Battle of Sakarya under the command of Atatürk, an important episode of the Turkish War of Independence of 1921-1922, which is considered to be a battle that changed the course of history. But an important motif of the text is an example of the successful disinformation carried out by the Turkish side against the Greeks before the offensive in the face of limited numbers of troops and European support for Greece.

Back in May, speaking during the next anniversary of the capture of Istanbul, the head of Turkey recalled that in 1453 Sultan Mehmet “conquered” not only Constantinople, but also the Peloponnese and Athens, not to mention the Balkans. Now Ankara’s goal is to return these territories to its orbit by 2053. He also promised to send the Greeks “into the time loop of history”, citing “the great ancestors who buried Byzantium” as an example.

Ankara is not averse to starting a war with Greece. President Erdogan has been talking about this for more than a year, but if earlier Europe did not allow Turkish ambitions to start a war on its territory, now the economic crisis has elevated the conspicuous Turkish sultan to a height, and the EU and its locomotive countries, France and Germany, threaten to fall into a severe depression, which the world has never experienced. Greece in this situation will make up a trail of countries that will be most affected by the shortage of gas in winter. While Turkey is preparing to become a new hub in the distribution of Russian gas throughout Europe.

Who benefits from the conflict between Athens and Ankara

Erdogan’s team periodically drives Greek politicians into a frenzy. So, shortly before the incidents with the planes, a member of the ruling coalition, Devlet Bahceli, showed a map with the Greek islands, which were designated as Turkish territory. The Turkish president himself has repeatedly predicted a tragic end for Greece, backing up his words with large-scale exercises on the border with Greece and engaging in geological exploration near the Greek coast.

In the event that this conflict escalates, Erdogan may hope to solve domestic problems – to write off strong inflation and the upcoming elections, which will have to be postponed indefinitely. At the same time, the threat of military action will become another trump card for the head of Turkey in the fight against pressure on Turkish business from the West.

A publication loyal to the presidential administration criticized the actions of the CIA, which threaten national business. Developers received calls from the American intelligence service with questions about what kind of houses are being sold to Russians, in what currency the payment is made. Also in a text titled “A new financial ploy?” contains information about the threats of the Deputy Head of the US Treasury to Turkish entrepreneurs for cooperation with Russia. At the same time, in parallel with an attempt to control the Turkish economy, the States are actively pumping money into the opposition. The audience is informed that America is preparing to repeat the July 2016 coup attempt.

Greece stands against

Two years ago, Greece was ready to step over the threshold of war and brought its armed forces to full combat readiness. Then the reason was the small Greek island of Kastellorizon, which the Turks claim. The fact is that it is located just two kilometers from the coast of Turkey, and its exclusive economic zone reaches 40 thousand square kilometers. In the same year, the Greeks decided to expand the territorial waters to 12 nautical miles east of the island of Crete, which the Turkish authorities took as a formal casus belli.

But now Athens is preparing for a recession and crisis. A war for Greece could be an economic blow, after which the heiress of Byzantium will either lose another part of the territory or receive assistance from the EU. Then the military conflict may end almost like a third world war, the collapse of the EU or Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO. Russia will only have to observe the use of the S-300 and S-400 against the American F-16 in practice in order to improve these projects.

Elena Ladilova, LIFE

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