Greek President provokes Turkey by visiting small island at center of dispute

In short, the problem is that Turkey claims the right to search for gas and oil in an area that conflicts with Greece’s own claims. Instead of resolving disagreements through negotiations, Turkey sent its naval and research vessels into disputed waters in August, and the two countries conducted rival military exercises in the region in the coming days.

Greece’s first female president, Katerina Sakelopopolo, believed to be carrying a high-powered military helicopter to Kastelorizo, a small Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean, in this highly charged environment on Sunday, the 77th anniversary of her nationality.

A 6-kilometer-long spit of hard rock and scrub, one of the easternmost islands in Greece, is the owner of millennia housing for geographical good luck. With its mouth towards the emerging landowners of Aegean and Turkey, the Gulf of Kastelorizo ​​turns to Mill Pond for peace, making it a prized port for many centuries trading goods between Europe and Europe in Asia.

Today, Kastellorizo ​​is at the center of controversy over the discovery of energy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Turkey says Greece is unfairly asserting its claim to the region on the basis of small islands near its coast, cheating Ankara out of sea level. Israel and Egypt have already found rich gas reserves under the Mediterranean, and to believe that there are many reasons to be discovered.

Greece's President Katerina Sakellopoulou, center, is delighted by residents during a visit to Kastorizo ​​on Sunday.

On Sunday, President Sakalopoulou told the island’s residents that “Turkey’s illegal actions have never been seen before in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. The tension is aimed not only at Greece, but also the European Union and NATO, thereby bringing peace and stability There is danger. Area. ” He said that Greece was “open to negotiation” and added that “immediate de-escalation on behalf of Turkey is a necessary condition for political discussion.”

Just hours before he arrived, Greece’s Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis announced that he was boarding the army, leaping over 18 state-of-the-art French fighter jets, embarking on a search for four new frigates for the Navy, and 15,000 more soldiers are being added to the army.

NATO allies are facing a bandh in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.  Conflict can engulf the entire region

Asked why these moves are being done now, Sakelopoulou told CNN: “Not only to send a message, but if you want peace, you should always be better prepared for war – something ancient Greek Has said that, we have to be prepared for everything. ”

The president’s reply came as a surprise to surprise him, but the harsh location of these two neighbors is harsh. Neither side really wants war, but neither are able to overcome.

Kastororizo’s visit to the president was criticized on Sunday by Turkey’s defense minister. Hulasi Aker told the Anadolu news agency operating in the state, “As there were no other islands to celebrate, they go there. Of course it bothers us,” although he said that Turkey also “communicates” and “K. Was in favor. ” Political solution. ”

Greece says it will go into negotiations if Turkey sets up its warships, but it is unclear to them if the Turks have planned to comply for more than a few days. A Turkish research vessel that was flown into disputed waters by Turkish military vessels has now gone back to the port in Turkey, a development which has been described by the Greek government on Sunday as a “positive step”.

When Greece and Turkey talk deeply to each other, it is unwise to turn them back. Rain often occurs when their disputes cloud over the horizon. It is barely two generations since Turkey dropped paratroopers on Greece’s neighboring Cyprus, splitting the island in two. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Europe, a peace agreement has not yet been signed, and the Turkish-controlled north still awaits international recognition.

Only last week, Mitsotakis wrote an article in several leading European newspapers about his great uncle’s deal with Turkish founder Kemal Ataturk in 1930. He said that there is a history of falling and making outside Greece and Turkey, and there came more good days than bad.

Kastellorizo ​​is seen from the Antalya province of Turkey.

But today the stakes are high. Money has been proved under the sea level in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as proxy wars are going on its coast. Russia has vested interests in Syria and Libya, and Vladimir Putin is strengthening his hold on the sea, which he considers important for Russia’s naval interests.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed a maritime deal with Libya that cuts to the interests of Russia and the UAE as well as disrupting a potential eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline in Europe.

Israel has gas to export, Europe wants to diversify gas imports from Russia, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who has opposed Turkey in Libya, has taken a stand behind Greece. The United States is also sympathetic to Greece’s difficulties.

These layers of multinational complexity risk trigger a chain reaction – and as hydrocarbons seek to extract Turkey and Greece, a mistake can be explosive.