Athens has reverted to previous methods and goals to isolate Ankara by deceptive the West with a story that’s out of step with actuality.
After a interval of thaw in bilateral relations for greater than a yr that began in early 2021, Ankara and Athens are again to an escalatory spiral over the contentious points associated to the Aegean Sea.
Thanks to a relative de-escalation of their standoff within the Eastern Mediterranean, the 2 NATO allies had first engaged in bilateral ‘exploratory talks’ after which progressed to ‘consultative talks’ all through 2021. However, the bilateral vivid spot darkened with two unlucky occasions: Türkiye discovered Greece violating its airspace not less than “thirty times in three days” in late April; and Greek PM Mitsotakis gave a provocative anti-Türkiye speech on the US Congress, reversing all of the diplomatic beneficial properties and renewing tensions between the 2 states.
As the problems between Türkiye and Greece concerning the Aegean Sea are manifold and they’re open to questions, each single spark or opposed incident in bilateral relations prompts Athens to reawaken all excellent points with Ankara by scrambling to win over the worldwide public opinion via the articulation of its arguments and narratives. Athens’ newest allure offensive is a working example.
Greece not too long ago despatched maps of the Aegean Sea, that are fashioned in a sure option to propagate Greek claims, to all Greek overseas missions, supposedly to strengthen the latter’s palms of their efforts to shift the coverage and public opinion of their host nations. The Greek media additionally circulated the identical ‘pro-Greece’ maps of the Aegean Sea as a part of a nationwide marketing campaign.
The current uptick in Athens’ aggressive propaganda is rooted in two momentous geopolitical dynamics. The first one is the US’ seemingly current abandonment of its conventional coverage of neutrality and ‘maintaining the strategic balance’ between Türkiye and Greece in favour of the latter.
The shift was confirmed by a sequence of strikes by the US, similar to lifting the arms embargo on Greek-administered Cyprus; upgrading Souda Bay on Crete and Dedeagac (Alexandroupoli) as US army bases with excessive profile visits by US plane carriers and officers like former US Secretary of State Pompeo; lastly, the standing ovation Mitsotakis obtained on the US Congress in response to his extremely provocative speech in opposition to Türkiye.
Washington’s carte blanche to Greece naturally emboldens the latter to embark on such propaganda as it’s assured that it has the ear of the US, to not point out the presence of an excessively pro-Greece President on the White House, who calls himself “Joe Bidenopoulos” and an “honorary Greek”.
The second dynamic prompting Athens to go on the propaganda offensive is its urge to disclaim Türkiye the benefit of reaping the advantages of the brand new geopolitical actuality created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ankara elevated its diplomatic profile by internet hosting Russian-Ukrainian talks and its capacity to speak to each side. Also, the Western alliance rediscovered Ankara’s strategic worth as a result of its distinctive leverage of blocking the straits to Russia, its competent indigenous defence capability within the type of drone exports to Kyiv, and its second-largest military in NATO.
On the opposite hand, Athens didn’t need Ankara to learn from the newly emerged beneficial temper within the West in the direction of Türkiye and determined to tarnish the latter’s picture by framing it because the aggressor. Mitsotakis even drew a comparability between the ‘threat’ Greece perceives from Türkiye with the Russian aggression in Ukraine – a transparent try to equate Türkiye with Russia because the ‘archenemies’ of the ‘Western Civilisation’.
Although the outstanding issues over the Aegean Sea between Türkiye and Greece are manifold, one of Greece’s most provocative and unlawful strikes is the militarisation of Eastern Aegean islands for the reason that Nineteen Sixties in contravention of their de-militarised standing as per the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and 1947 Paris Treaty. Article 12 of the Lausanne Peace Treaty confirmed the settlement made below 1914 The Decision of Six Powers, which stipulated that the islands (Lemnos, Samothrace, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria and others) had been ceded to Greece on the situation that they need to be saved demilitarised. Likewise, the Annex 6 of the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty confirmed the demilitarised standing of the Eastern Aegean islands as soon as once more, ceding the “Dodecanese Islands” (Stampalia, Rhodes, Calki, Scarpanto, Casos, Piscopis, Nisiros, Calimnos, Leros, Patmos, Lipsos, Symi, Cos and Castellorizo) to Greece on the situation that they have to be saved demilitarised. But Athens is violating each the treaties.
As the Eastern Aegean islands are in excessive proximity to the Turkish shoreline, any army asset on these islands poses an imminent menace and breeds a way of tension on the a part of Türkiye. Furthermore, territorial waters within the Aegean Sea are one other concern weaponised by Greece in opposition to Türkiye. Greece’s long-dated menace of accelerating the breadth of its territorial waters from 6 nautical miles to 12 nautical miles entails boxing Türkiye in its shoreline, virtually depriving the latter of the liberty of navigation to an incredible extent.
As a standard follow in worldwide legislation, maritime zones of nations are decided by both bilateral agreements between littoral states or, within the case of a dispute, related worldwide courts’ selections may decide them.
Türkiye favours a bilateral delimitation settlement with Greece, which requires a negotiation course of between the 2 littoral states. However, it has been a non-starter for years since Greece doesn’t even recognise the existence of varied points over the Aegean Sea, as a substitute of 1: Athens argues that there’s solely the difficulty of delimitation of the continental shelf between the 2 nations.
Regardless of what’s proper or flawed legally, Greece has had the unwavering assist of the EU as a full member when it got here to its disputes with Türkiye for years. With an intent to isolate Turkiye, Athens has embraced a method of involving or dragging third events into its bilateral disputes with Ankara slightly than coping with it immediately. Powerful third events such because the EU granted Athens the posh of not bothering to resolve its disputes with Ankara by providing their unconditional assist to the latter. Athens’ luxurious is just amplified by the current shift in US’ strategic outlook vis-à-vis Türkiye and Greece, which is not going to assist ease tensions between Ankara and Athens throughout the foreseeable future.
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Source: TRT World