Athens has four deterrence scenarios over Turkey’s drilling plans
In anticipation of a crisis in September, when Turkey says it plans to begin drilling activities in Greece's continental shelf, Athens has elaborated four deterrence plans, while at the same bidding to keep channels of communication open with Ankara.
The first scenario stipulates that if a Turkish research vessel is dispatched with an escort of Turkish frigates, but does not immediately proceed with exploratory activities, a similar number of Greek vessels will be sent to the area, and will remain there for as long as Turkey’s do.
The second scenario foresees that in the event that a research vessel lays out cables for seismic surveys, the Greek side will use wireless means to intervene. Otherwise, the cables should be cut or prevented from reaching the bottom of the seabed.
The third scenario, which is deemed the least likely, concerns the possibility of Turkey sending a floating drilling rig. In this case, the instructions are clear that the drill should never touch the seabed, with all that entails. Given the size of all three of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation’s drillships, it would be impossible for the Greek frigates to prevent this.
In this case the use of warning shots to prevent drilling has not been ruled out.
The fourth scenario concerns a combined mission of Turkish research ships in different parts of the Greek continental shelf. Again, the instructions to prevent surveying or drilling at any point from Rhodes to Crete are clear.
This last scenario, although not considered the most likely, is being increasingly assessed, especially after the recent aeronautical Turkish presence in the region from southern Crete to Libya.