Facing greater odds and challenges than King Leonidas’ 300 Spartan warriors fighting a force of more than 10,000 Persian fighters at Thermopylae in 480 BC, Greeks are again the European continent’s only defense in the fight against an invasion from the East that threatens to reshape the course of Western civilization.
Turkish strongman and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seized the role of a modern-day King Xerxes I of Persia in leading a hybrid warfare campaign to destroy Western civilization in Europe as the 100th anniversary of the modern state of Turkey approaches in October of 2023. From facilitating the movement of more than a million Middle Eastern migrants to Europe via Greece annually since 2013, to imploring Turks living in Europe to have multiple children as an act of revenge against the West’s “injustices,” Erdogan is aggressively working on earning the title of “Caliph” of the Muslim world by laying the foundation to transform Europe into a Muslim caliphate.
With delusions of grandeur and increasing boldness in displays and acts of hostility towards the United States, Europe, Israel and the West, Erdogan has transformed Turkey from a NATO ally and former military partner with Israel into an adversary. Erdogan’s Turkey poses the greatest threat to western civilization since the rise of communism and the expansionist aims of the Soviet Empire during the Cold War.
Erdogan’s support for the waves of Middle Eastern migrants into Greece by land and by sea is part of a much larger, long-term hybrid warfare campaign against Europe and the West. A campaign and assault that has been ignored by almost all Western European leaders, the United States, and the international media.
From Turkey’s long-standing occupation of northern Cyprus; its flirtation with China in the attempt to spend 3.4 billion dollars on advanced air defense missile systems from China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation in 2013 that was successfully thwarted by the US and NATO; its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems; the assault on US protesters in Washington, DC in 2013; continuous Turkish military air and sea incursions and harassment incidents in Greek territory; harassment of joint Greek, Cypriot and Israeli oil and gas exploration efforts; illegal territorial and resource claims in the exclusive economic zones of Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Libya; restrictions on the use of the US base at Incirlik to fight the war against Islamic terror; support for Al Qaida, ISIS, Hamas, Hizbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, radical Islam and Iran; the “Operation Peace Spring” ethnic cleansing assaults against our Kurdish allies who fought courageously and effectively against ISIS and Islamic fundamentalists in Syria; instigation of ethnic tensions in the Balkans; violations of religious and academic freedoms against the Halki Orthodox Christian Seminary; denial of the Greek and Armenian genocides; escalations in the desecration of the Hagia Sophia by reciting the Quran in the most sacred site to Orthodox Christians; imprisonment of opposition journalists, Turkish NATO officers and academics, Turkey’s acts of aggression remain unchallenged by the free world out of fear of Turkey supporting our adversaries or becoming a rogue nation. Through Turkey’s behavior and actions, Erdogan has affirmed his steadfast commitment in challenging the West as an adversary while posing as a NATO ally.
Spending millions of dollars a year, more than 9 million dollars lobbying US politicians in 2018 alone, Turkey has successfully leveraged the myth of its strategic significance to the West and NATO and has mastered silencing any potential effort to reign in its threatening behavior and dangerous ambitions. Turkey’s recent action of weaponizing migrants to blackmail Europe is the latest in a series of inhumane acts of aggression that are not the actions of an ally, a humanitarian or a responsible global actor. These are the actions of a human trafficker or a terrorist, but committed by a sovereign state, an act of war.
It’s time for the United States, NATO and Europe to reign in Erdogan and his threats to peace and stability in the region. It’s time for the US to take the lead in driving the European nations to take decisive action to contain Erdogan’s acts of aggression and support Greece’s defense of Europe’s southeastern flank. The US Congress and Senate’s passing of The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, recently signed into law, is a notable step in the proper direction in affirming the US, Greece, Cyprus and Israel strategic partnership. The urgency, however, to transform this bill into an effective joint US and European effort on the scale of Truman Aid to support Greece and Cyprus in upgrading their military forces, coast guard, border protection forces and technologies to better protect Europe’s borders, security, energy security, economic interests and freedom has never been greater. Turkey’s actions must be addressed decisively and immediately.
Commander Demetries Grimes is a former US naval officer and aviator. He has served as naval attache to Greece and Israel, deputy commander of the US base in Crete and advisor to NATO’s Maritime Commander in London, UK.