Athens and Nicosia on the alert

The repeated flights of Turkish fighter jets over populated islands under Greece’s sovereignty and the decision by the government in Ankara to explore for oil off the Cyprus coast raise a number of questions concerning Turkey’s ultimate aspirations. Is it a reaction by the military establishment in Ankara to attempts by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to curb the power of the army? Is it a sign of confusion caused by pressure coming from many sides (including Greece) as a result of illegal migration and other regional problems? Is Turkey building on its previous disputing of Greek and Cypriot sovereign rights in a bid to maintain the initiative? Is it in the context of Ankara’s membership negotiations with the European Union or, perhaps, a sign that Turkey has, in fact, given up its ambitions of joining the bloc? Whatever the cause, Athens and Nicosia must not let their guard down and they must take steps to ensure that they are fully prepared to counter any aggressive move coming from across the Aegean.