NEWS

Athens readies for Ankara’s next move

VASSILIS NEDOS

Greece is reportedly in a heightened state of vigilance at all levels, so that in the coming period of its forced introversion to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic the conditions are not created that would allow Ankara to spring any surprises.

Concerns over Turkey’s next moves have mounted in recent months given its overall aggressive stance in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and on the migration issue. An indication of Ankara’s mind-set is its insistence that its decision to evacuate migrants from the Evros land border on Friday was only a temporary measure aimed solely at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Greece is also wary of Turkey’s erratic responses due to internal pressure faced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his government’s handling of the fronts it has opened from Syria to Libya.

Moreover, at the same time, Ankara continues its research activities within Cyprus’ territorial waters while reserving areas for military drills and submarines in the area between Kastellorizo, Rhodes and southern Crete until early April. From April 15 onward, Athens is considering all possibilities, including the next step from Ankara, namely the dispatch of a research ship to the sea area south of Crete.

Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, the Turkish cargo ship that was heading to Libya but changed course last week after it was spotted by a French vessel operating in the area as part of NATO’s Sea Guardian operation to prevent violations of the arms embargo on the North African country was carrying parts for MIM-23 Hawk missile systems. 

The missile systems had been damaged or destroyed in raids conducted by the forces of rebel leader General Khalifa Haftar on airports controlled by the Tripoli-based government led by Fayez al-Sarraj, whom Ankara backs.

Online