Jun 14 2019

New Greek administration must be ready for Turkey's actions in East Mediterranean- Kathimerini

The new Greek administration must be prepared for Turkish attempts in the East Mediterranean that could take Athens by surprise, Greek scholar Thanos Dokos wrote for the Greek newspaper Kathimerini on Thursday.

The Greek government will hold a snap election on July 7 after a request from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to dissolve parliament on Monday. The new administration should be ready for possible Turkish moves that violate certain red lines in Greek-Turkish relations, Dokos said.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece have escalated over the last year as both sides have stepped up efforts to drill for gas in the East Mediterranean. The revival of a decades-old dispute over maritime borders has further added to the tension.

"Although it is not necessarily the most likely scenario, Greece must be prepared for Turkish attempts to exploit a window of opportunity," said Dokos, the director-general of the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy.

Last month, Turkey sent its Fatih vessel to the west of the island of Cyprus to begin drilling for oil and gas with plans to drill not inside Cyprus’s EEZ, but in territory claimed by Greece.

Former Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis last week said a crisis with Turkey is always waiting at the corner and it is more possible than ever with the recent developments in East Mediterranean.

"Turkey tends to exploit periods of political transition and temporary power vacuums in Greece in order to advance its bilateral aspirations," said Dokos.