Failure to follow procedures and lapses at key decision-making centers were the main mistakes made during the Imia crisis, which brought Greece and neighboring Turkey to the brink of war in 1996.
The same shortcomings became painfully evident on Sunday after a Turkish gunboat carrying Turkey’s Chief of General Staff sailed into Greek waters and around the eastern Aegean islets.
There was no operation center to coordinate all the responsible agencies, which are not just military ones. There is no such center at government headquarters at Maximos Mansion. What is more, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense was not convened.
Hopefully, reason will prevail across the Aegean, and we shall not have to witness a repeat of the 1996 crisis. At the same time, however, the leadership in Athens has to display a more responsible attitude and institutional approach vis-a-vis incidents of this nature.