With the European Council last week seen as a milestone of the European Union’s indecision to put the brake on Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Athens is drafting its next moves for the coming weeks and months.
Although Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared to be satisfied with the reference to a series of possible sanctions, including possible implications for Turkey’s customs union with the European Union and the instruction to the bloc’s High Representative Josep Borrell to examine a possible expansion of their scope, it was clear that the Europeans wanted to wait and see how the United States would deal with Turkey after Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US president on January 20.
This will take place in the wake of the ratification of a bill providing for US sanctions against Turkey over its acquisition of Russian S-400 air-defense system.
For Athens, everything depends on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and whether he will desist from sending vessels to conduct research in the Eastern Mediterranean so as to allow for the resumption of exploratory contacts, or if he does the same as he did back in October, when he ordered the resumption of East Med exploratory activities once the European Council was concluded.
The most serious scenario is the possibility that he sends a drillship to some of the areas that have already been scanned by Turkish research vessels.
Greek estimates suggest that the most likely area that this could occur is where the continental shelves of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus meet.