Athens, Greece – Greece, the GCA, Italy and France’s joint exercise, which began yesterday in the south of Crete, will last three days. While eyes are on the struggle for energy and efficiency in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece is trying to intimidate Turkey. The Greek Defense Ministry says military exercises are being held in the Eastern Mediterranean with the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA), Italy and France. The joint exercise, called Eunomia, which began yesterday in the south of the island of Crete, will take 3 days.
France’s Armed Forces said they were participating in the exercise with three fighter jets and a frigate loaded with helicopters. Greek F-16s and 4th generation French Rafales will participate in the exercise were illegally stationed at the GCA as of the previous day. According to Greek media reports, Italy is participating in the exercise with a frigate and the GCA with helicopters and Coast Guard vessels.
The TRNC reaction
“The Eastern Mediterranean has turned into a zone of tension,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly said about the joint exercise, adding that international law must be respected. For the Eastern Mediterranean, Parly said, ” it shouldn’t be a playground for someone’s ambitions. It is a common value,” as Parly said. Indeed, France and Greece are aggressively aiming at imperialist and maximalist ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) reacted strongly to Greece’s exercise step in the Eastern Mediterranean. “This exercise is against international law,” said Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.
Training with the Unites States
The Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on its social media account: “the Turkish Navy is continuing transition training with the Allied Navy. US destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill with TCG Barbaros frigate and TCG Burgasada Corvette on 26 August (yesterday), conducted naval training in the Eastern Mediterranean.” Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have long been high due to natural gas supplies in the region.
Voicing opposition to the unilateral energy moves of the Greek Cypriot front in Cyprus, Turkey sent the Oruç Reis research vessel to the TRNC. To ease tensions between Turkey and Greece, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had first held talks in Athens and then in Ankara the previous day. Both Turkey and Greece had indicated to the Maas that they were ready for dialogue with each other. The United States and Greece conducted an exercise south of the island of Crete, while the United Arab Emirates also sent four F-16s to participate in the exercise in that area.
Statement of the critical 12 miles from Greece
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that a bill would be introduced to increase the continental shelf in the Ionian Sea in the west of the country from 6 miles to 12 miles. The United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea, signed in 1982, gives riparian countries the right to declare their territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles.
Greece, which enacted the convention in 1995, which Turkey is not a party to, noted that it reserves the right to increase its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Islands Sea. On top of that, the parliament declared that if Greece increased its territorial waters beyond 6 miles, this would be considered a cause of war. Meanwhile, the Greek parliament said the vote on the maritime jurisdiction agreements signed with Italy and Egypt had been postponed until today due to the new type of coronavirus.
Greek provocative aggression
Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy on Wednesday launched a joint aeronautical exercise south of Cyprus.
The drills, dubbed “Eunomia,” are scheduled from Aug. 26 until Aug. 28 and are part of the cooperation between the four countries to address the challenge of growing tensions in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, this pirate initiative aims to demonstrate the commitment of the four European Mediterranean countries to openly threaten Turkey and the TRNC, that while both sovereign countries respect the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions.