Friday, February 26, 2016

NATO Warships in the seas Odysseus Sailed Spell Trouble For EU

by Ian R Thorpe

Sorry about the cryptic headline, it's just my classical education manifesting itself.

Not Odysseus' ship but a NATO gunboat patrolling the Aegean (Image source)

The animosity between Greece and Turkey is at least as ancient as the history of Turkey itself. Greece was one of the oldest civilizations while Turkey has only existed as a nation since the disintegration of Byzantium, the eastern part of the Roman Empire. And there are plenty of reasons, mostly dating back through the almost 1000 year era during which the Ottoman Turks ruled Greece and The Balkans.

Having a strong sense of history, as befits such an ancient nation and culture, the Greeks think they deserve more respect for the times they were in the front line when the Ottoman Turks set off to conquer the whole of Europe.

There is even in this era of globalism and harmonisation (LOL) considerable animosity between Greece and Turkey, most recently centered on Cyprus, where — in 1974 — Turkey occupied a third of the island in response to an Athens-backed coup aimed at annexing Cyprus to Greece.

In spite of the fuckwitted determination of Brussels ruling bureaucracy to fast track Turkey into the EU, the Turks still refuse to acknowledge the Republic of Cyprus (an EU member since 2004) as the sole authority on the island, and recognizes the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since its establishment in 1983.

This has been a major sticking point in the question of admitting Turkey into the EU as a full member. Another is a dispute over territorial sea limits between the two nations. Erdogan's position on the Kurds — as well as the continuing crises in neighboring Syria and Iraq are exacerbating the situation. Nobody is talking about Turkey's links to ISIS of course or its illegal oil trade with the terrorist group trying to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

In an apparent effort to reduce the flow of migrants making their way from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean Sea, and because of the mistrust between the nations on either side of that body of water, pressure has been put on NATO (of which both Greece and Turkey are members)by the EU to deploy ships to the Aegean Sea, which has now put it on a collision course with both Athens and Ankara.

The ongoing dispute over territorial sea limits between the two nations is another problem, particularly with Turkey's lunatic President Erdogan's apparent eagerness to provoke a shooting war with Russia and his attacks on the Kurds in his own country, Syria and Iraq. The continuing crises in neighboring Syria and Iraq are exacerbating the situation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admits the deployment of warships in The Agean puts it at the center of a diplomatically sensitive situation. He told a press conference:

"Our ships will be providing information to the coastguards and other national authorities of Greece and Turkey. This will help them carry out their duties even more effectively to deal with the illegal trafficking networks," Stoltenberg said in a statement.

"We are also establishing direct links with Frontex, the European Union's border agency. We will conduct our activities in the Aegean Sea. Our commanders will decide the area where they will be operating, in coordination with Greece and Turkey. NATO vessels can deploy in the territorial waters of Greece and Turkey.

"Greek and Turkish forces will not operate in each others territorial waters and airspace. NATO's task is not to turn back the boats. We will provide critical information. To enable the Greek and Turkish coastguards, as well as Frontex, to do their job even more effectively."

The NATO operation will not involve turning back migrant boats or picking up those trying to enter Europe illegally;
Turkish vessels will not cross into Greek sea areas and Greece will not operate in Turkish waters. This could actually make the migrant crisis worse, with Greece and Turkey unable to act effectively outside their own territorial waters both are stymied. Illegal migrants respect no boundaries.

With Greece loudly complaining about a lack of EU assistance in dealing with its growing migrant problem — and the closing off of its northern borders — with little ability to actually patrol the whole Aegean Sea on its own, the situation for Athens is impossible. Turkey has come under severe criticism for failing to impose border controls under a US$3.35 billion EU program and has seemed unwilling — so far — to strengthen its land or sea military assets, it too looks likely to be unable to stem the maritime migrant flow. Erdogan is more intent on using the situation to blackmail the EU into stumping up yet more money in return for (so far worthless) promises of cooperation from the Turkish government.

Migrants Mass At Greek Border Waiting To Cross Into Europe

An estimated 6,500 undocumented travellers were assembled at the Idomeni camp on Greece’s northern border with Macedonia on Saturday according to news feeds, after four Balkan countries announced a daily cap on migrant arrivals. The log jam began after Macedonia began refusing entry to Afghans and imposed stricter document controls on Syrians and Iraqis, slowing the passage of migrants and refugees to a trickle.

USA, EU and Turkey are not going to like this Greece /Russia deal

“We indeed need access to the Mediterranean Sea bypassing Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, [the narrow straits that separate mainland Turkey from the Turkish enclave in Europe in which Istanbul is situated.] There is another alternative – a channel through Iran. This project, first conceived approximately a century ago, is now also on the agenda,”
Immigration crisis: The boat people
Immigration omnibus page
The tide of immigrants (not refugees)
Syria and Turkey at war?
Evidence linking Turkey and ISIS
EU destroys democracy in Greece
EU refugee quotas split the union
Euro crisis in Cyprus
Europe extended
Europe's immigration burden
Leaked Transcripts Prove ISIS-Turkey Link
Turkey Blames Kurds, Assad For Terrorist Attack, Vows Swift Response
Turkey and Saudi Arabia Already Have Troops Fighting In Syria
Russian Navy clashes with Turkish vessel impeding drill platform convoy in Black Sea
Russian Navy Destroyer "Fires Warning Shots" To Avoid Collision With Turkish Ship
Turkey Planned Shootdown Of Russian Plane Weeks Ahead - Wikileaks

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