We are recording and evaluating the escalation in the tension between Turkey and Greece very carefully for the past few months. We predicted the exact date (-+2 days) of the open beginning of the hybrid hostilities already from January 10th 2020, and had indicated the coming events in our EastMed Energy Security Conference on November 1rst 2019. Since then, we have been projecting models of the ensuing escalation. Based on the heavy propaganda in Turkey by the Erdogan administration which is calling for the “solution” of Turkish-Greek affairs, the statements by Turkish politicians and the open acts of aggression by Turkish military forces which are exponentially rising in severity, we predict that within the next few weeks, but before the celebration of Greek Easter, a new round of aggression will ensue, probably in the Southern region of the Aegean, between the islands of Crete and Castellorizo, which is essentially the main strategic Turkish target for the success of its “Blue Country” scheme. The long term strategic Turkish plans include the shelving of the EastMed Project, the cancellation of all forms of military cooperation between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, especially between Cyprus, Israel and Greece. We note that our prediction involves a three-way escalation, one as a diversion in the Evros region, and a second diversion in the Central Aegean with the main target in the Southern Aegean.
Greece is under great pressure from Germany, Russia and China to accept a “compromise” with Turkey, as all the aforementioned countries fear that any improvement in the US-Greek and Greek-Israeli relations is detrimental for their interests. Germany acts as point-country for the constant pressuring of Greece to accept the heavy terms of virtual surrender by wielding the weapon of the heavy Greece debt to member states of the EU. The arrival of the Covid-19 in Greece is also being “weaponized” against the Greek Government as EU funding will probably come at the cost of Greece resigning from its claims on the Continental Shelf and Exclusive Maritime Zone, nevertheless it will be a very tough sell to the Greeks, as the vast majority (app.90%) are against any compromise as per the latest polls.
Greek reaction to the last two serious incidents, namely the invasion of Greek airspace over the Evros region by two F-16 planes piloted by Pakistani pilots and the deliberate ramming of a Greek Coast Guard vessel by a Turkish Coast Guard ultra modern patrol boat was more in line to the EU suggestions for the de-escalation of the situation.
Although we predict the immediate escalation of the conflict which already for the 14th day is short of open warfare, we are not certain on the reaction of the Greek Government and the PM in particular to a new escalation. Our best models predict that if the escalation is light, the Greek PM may well match the level of the escalation, but at any point shy of the use of lethal force. If Turkey decides to take it up a notch we predict that the Greek PM will avoid escalation and agree to the terms which will be dictated by the German government which will act as a “mediator”. It is a very difficult situation though for the Greek PM, who is between the hammer and the anvil, the hammer being the pressure by the EU leadership, and the anvil being his party apparatus, who in case of capitulation are expected to resign en masse, possibly causing premature elections in which the ruling party would be devasted, in contrary to its current position which is by far the first in the polls, as it has gained at least 6% in popularity for its tough handling of the Evros hybrid invasion.
Coordinator EastMed Strategic Studies Institute
Operated by the Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter
(contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org, Jonathan Constantine, +30 210 6123444.)