NEWS

Athens bracing for possible planned Turkish escalation

athens-bracing-for-possible-planned-turkish-escalation

With 17 days having passed since Ankara opened its land border at Evros, Athens is reportedly seriously considering the possibility that Turkey is planning not only to cause an incident but to take a set of actions that will put the whole state apparatus and not just the Hellenic Armed Forces to the test.

Apart from military movements on land and in the sea and air, Ankara is using migrants as a weapon of pressure while at the same time its propaganda machine is operating on both the domestic and international fronts.

Internally, the state-controlled media is depicting an image of Greece as a country that is provocatively trying to deny Ankara its “natural” rights in the Balkans, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, acting at the behest of the West. This is working to further fuel the already strong current of nationalism pervading Turkey.

Abroad, Ankara presents Greece as a state that systematically violates human rights, with the obvious aim of influencing public opinion in the West.

These are organized campaigns meant to spread fake news and misinformation, something that large countries such as the US and Britain have faced in the past and have the know-how and experience to deal with.

Experts point out that the word “propaganda” should be avoided, as we are talking about a completely different phenomenon, which is far more difficult to tackle, due to the multiplier effect of social media.

At a military level, Greece experienced a sharp outburst of aggression last week over land and sea.

Faced with this situation, Athens remains on the alert and is preparing for scenarios entailing multiple crises.

One such scenario involves a cross-border incident at Evros, with a simultaneous one in the Aegean, on the pretext of a search and rescue operation for migrants.

Moreover, Turkey’s diplomatic moves, such as the recent letter from its permanent representative to the United Nations to expedite the publication of the coordinates of the Turkey-Libya maritime border deal, suggest that Ankara also wants to move to the next step, namely its seismic investigations in an area south of Crete.