A different ring of fire

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 12/03/2018 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

Greece is situated at an interesting but dangerous crossroads – at the faultlines of recurring Balkan unrest; at close range to the Black Sea/Crimea moving sands; southwards, looking to the explosive Near East as it merges with the Middle East, with “real war” in Syria; extricably intertwined with seething Erdogan-rule Turkey.

 

In just two months of 2018, Greece has had the experience of having one of its Coast Guard boats rammed by a Turkish patrol ship near the contested Imia islets (Kardak to Turkey, increasingly so to international-mapping websites), then of two of its soldiers patrolling the border area in Evros arrested (reputedly on Turkish territory) and held in custody in Edirne/Turkey.

 

Going south, incidents of conflicting NAVTEX and NOTAM issued by Turkey and Greece all over the Aegean and – more dangerously – around small Kastellorizo island, which constitutes the southernmost Greek presence opposite the Turkish/Asia Minor land mass, are constantly causing concern. While around the Cyprus EEZ, Turkish sabre-rattling has been successful in stopping natural-gas exploration by (Italian) ENI; now (U.S.) ExxonMobil will be testing the waters – literally as well as metaphorically.

 

This different king of ring of fire does not seem to really raise concern in either NATO or the EU, notwithstanding virtuous positions adopted and pronouncements made. Could it deteriorate to something more worrisome in the near future?

 

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