We have not closed the chapter yet on the Ukraine-Russia war, and SOFREP has just reported the skirmish between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But, we are here again to bring you a warning that the third war of 2022 could be happening soon.
Last week, Greece’s government wrote an official letter to the EU, the UN, and NATO to help them condemn Turkey and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for its threats to the country. In the letters, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s behavior should be censored by these three bodies.
“By not doing so in time or by underestimating the seriousness of the matter, we risk witnessing again a situation similar to that currently unfolding in some other part of our continent,” Dendias wrote, referring to the Ukraine-Russia war.
“This is something none of us would really wish to see.”
Dendias implied that Greece and Turkey are currently experiencing the lowest point when it comes to their relations as they tackle historical and contemporary disputes (including that of the Aegean Sea boundaries and immigration).
Last Tuesday, Turkey announced a subtle threat directed at Greece, with Erdogan saying things could “come all of a sudden one night.” However, when asked if the Turkish president was referring to a military action, he responded with an affirmative.
“What I’m talking about is not a dream. If what I said was that we could come one night all of a sudden [it means] that, when the time comes, we can come suddenly one night.”
Dendias quickly called out Erdogan in his remarks, saying these are “outrageous comments” that should not be taken lightly. Greece will be treating this as a warning that Turkey could “invade” Greek islands soon.
“I would advise anybody who dreams of attacks and conquest to consider three or four times,” he said after talks in Athens with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. “We are in a position to defend our country, our independence and territorial integrity.”
Dendias added that they need to defend their stance on the Eastern Aegean Sea Islands, including the tourist hotspots like Kos and Rhodes (areas that are incredibly close to Turkey than Greece). However, Ankara claims that Greeks are violating international agreements by imposing their military forces on the islands close to Turkey’s Aegean coastline. They are also claiming Greek air defenses are clocking Turkish fighter jets during the NATO exercises in the Mediterranean. But, the same goes for how Greece is describing Turkey on how the latter is overstepping onto their territories.
“The Turkish side maintains that these islands are under Greek occupation,” he said. “Let me point out that opposite the Aegean islands is stationed the biggest landing fleet in Europe and a full Turkish army group,” he said.
“This year there have been 6,100 violations of our airspace, 157 overflights of Greek territory and 1,000 violations of our territorial waters,” he added.
Erdogan, on the other hand, is almost ready to push that green light anytime.
“There are some illegitimate threats against us and if these illegitimate threats continue there’s an end to one’s patience,” Erdogan warns.
“When the time is due, necessary action will be taken because it is not a good sign to lock on radars to our planes. Such things done by Greece are not a good sign.”
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of the Greek “occupation” as “vile.”
“The Turkish leadership has apparently chosen to present future aggression as already prepared and, more importantly, as a justified action,” he said. “Unless seen in its true dimensions and properly dealt with by the international community, this Turkish attitude risks destabilizing our wider region and causing consequences of which the gravity is hard to assess.”
However, Dendias wrote to Stoltenberg, saying the Turkish threats are a “destabilizing factor for NATO.”
“The Turkish attitude is a destabilizing factor for NATO’s unity and cohesion, weakening the southern flank of the alliance at a moment of crisis,” Dendias wrote.
Greece and Turkey have been through wars before, and they have deep-seated resentment toward each other. One of their most intense wars over the century is that of the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922. The Greek campaign launched a primary attack, claiming Anatolia as part of Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire before the Turks conquered the area in the 12th-15th centuries.
The Turks launched a counter-attack known as the “Great Offensive,” where they overran significant Greek defense positions. The next day, the Greek defense positions in Afyon fell. The war continued for years until the resolution came in the form of an armistice on Oct. 11, 1922. Finally, the Armistice of Mudanya was formed with the help of allies Britain, France, and Italy.