The possible and improbable scenarios that are processed at the Ministry of National Defense
Unfortunately, for some time the 68-year-old president of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become unpredictable in his movements. And possibly even more so as we head towards the June 2023 presidential election and polls continue to have him second at best. In order to overturn this unfavorable climate for his political fortune, he is constantly making new challenges against our country.
He urges his fighter jets to fly over Greek islands, he tools refugees at the border, he orders a new expensive floating drilling rig to search the Mediterranean, he insists on buying more weapons from the United States and Germany, he directly challenges the regime ownership of Rhodes and Crete, interprets international treaties and the Law of the Sea as they see fit and threatens our country that if it does not demilitarize a number of Aegean islands, it can claim them. No one can answer with certainty how far it can go.
On the other hand, however, the Greek Armed Forces are prepared for anything. Multiple and exhaustive meetings have taken place at the Ministry of National Defense. The military leadership under the head of the General Staff of the National Defense General Konstantinos Floros, in collaboration with politics (that is, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), have drawn up a long list of all the hypothetical scenarios for the escalation of Turkish behavior towards our country as well as the ways of reacting to each of them.
As noted by those in the know, “we are ready even for the most extreme scenario”, adding meaningfully that Ankara is very likely to attempt to set up some provocation, a staged episode, which will make it appear to be defending and Athens as the aggressor. The coordinated statements of the neighboring Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Interior Minister Suleiman Soylou that Greece is the one that violates the national airspace, violates the Treaty of Lausanne and mistreats the Muslim minority are not just coincidences. in Thrace. The most likely challenge scenarios that Athens is currently considering are the following:
One of the most expected moves by Ankara is to carry out a new barrage of overflights by its aircraft over the Aegean sky and very close to or over our islands. We remind you that on April 27, in just one twenty-four hours, 168 violations of the 10 nautical mile airspace were recorded, as well as 42 overflights of Turkish F-16 fighters over Greek territory and inhabited islands of the eastern Aegean such as Rhodes, Symi, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Halki, Oinousses, Lipsi and Agathonisi.
The neighboring country had argued at the time that it was done because the Greek Air Force had committed similar violations the previous day. No one excludes the fact that in one of the air battles over the Aegean there will be an accident or an accident that will be the fuse for a conflict to break out.
Since the beginning of August, President Erdoğan has taken out the new state-of-the-art floating drilling rig Abdulhamid Han for research in the Mediterranean. So far it has moved into Turkish territorial waters, relieving the Greek staffs at this stage. However, no one rules out that in one of his next missions, the captain of the ship will be asked to carry out seismic surveys, e.g. south of Crete, in an area that according to Ankara it has the right to do so due to the memorandum it has signed with Libya, but Athens considers this agreement illegal and non-existent. What will happen if the drilling rig starts research in a disputed sea plot and especially with the escort of warships?
In fact, among the scenarios being considered is for the drilling rig to proceed with activities south of Crete, not on behalf of the Turkish Republic but of Libya. This is where the situation gets complicated as a third country, Libya, also enters the geopolitical “game”.
Equally complicated is the scenario under consideration, which wants Turkey to send a drilling rig south of the island of Kastellorizos (near the place where the ship Oruc Reis was conducting seismic surveys in 2020) and at the same time a research vessel south of Crete. Such a thing would mean that the Ministry of National Defense of our country would be forced to split its forces, sending part of the fleet to one point and another important unit to the other point.
Turkish President Erdogan believes that at any time and moment he can once again use immigrants as a tool in order to create problems and new foci of tension with Greece. Let’s not forget how the hybrid attack started in Evros, early 2020.
The incidents began on February 28 of that year, when the neighboring government announced that in response to the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib, it was unilaterally opening its border with Greece for refugees and migrants seeking to reach in the European Union. At the same time tens of thousands of refugee immigrants arrived at the Greek-Turkish border along the river Evros. Transportation was done by buses and taxis. The attempt to breach the dam with a Turkish armored car of European origin did not bring about the desired result. The Greek police forces, with the help of the citizens and the army, managed to prevent the disorderly invasion with fire extinguishers, lighting, loudspeakers as well as the repair of the fence – while it is understood that further back there were multiple lines of defense.
One of the possibilities that have been examined by the competent bodies of our country is also the sending from Turkey of a research vessel to an area that has been causing an incident for many years. One such point, for example, is the sea area around Lesbos or in the northern Aegean.
The staff at the Mesogeion Street offices, where the Ministry of National Defense is based, have also considered the possibility of Turkey sending a research vessel to the maritime area of the Greek-Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone. If Ankara succeeds in carrying out investigations on this point, it would in effect be effectively nullifying the Greek-Egyptian maritime pact on oil and gas drilling rights, signed between the two countries on August 6 and ratified by the Greek Parliament on 27 August 2020.