People are trying to sort out the larger picture of Turkey’s maritime and now apparent regional plans.
Seems relevant now that Erdogan has announced that the eastern Mediterranean belongs to Turkey now.
Erdogan has been very forthright and, frankly, aggressive about this claim
in.gr: Erdogan declares Greece will pay for its actions internationally
Erdogan also expressed Ankara’s anger with the Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt energy cooperation declaring that they cannot make a move without Ankara’s approval.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ratcheting up the tensions in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean with threats against Greece over the delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.In an interview with Turkish TRT television he attacked Greece and Cyprus even as he defended the controversial Libya-Turkey MOU regarding the supposed delimitation of the two countries’ EEZs, which under international law do not meet.
So the deal made with the government in Tripoli that claims to represent Libya (GNA)—this is, apparently, a highly contentious claim with different regional states backing each side.
Early returns suggest to me that Turkey is backing the side that works with terrorists whereas the other side (LNA) fights ISIS and al Queda.
I need to learn more, but that sounds like pretty much the norm at this point, doesn’t it?
Anyway, Erdogan is not just claiming a right but asserting it rather aggressively.
Erdogan also expressed Ankara’s anger with the Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt energy cooperation declaring that the four countries cannot make a move without Ankara’s approval.
Believing that he has made a checkmate move with Libya. Erdogan essentially argued that the four cooperating countries cannot construct a natural gas transmission line without Turkey’s consent.
«Greece’s hands and feet have been bound and that has driven them crazy,» Erdogan declared.
Turkish government leaks indicated that Ankara is poised to conduct gas drilling areas that it has expropriated in the deal with Libya. That includes large parts of Greece’s EEZ
So Turkey is claiming this is a kind of “counter attack” to the illegitimate claims of Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt.
And Turkey says it’s in charge.
I’m not even addressing Turkey’s ridiculous claim that because it has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean that it has the legal right to claim territory farther from it’s shores than other states.
I mean, Greece’s is bigger. And second, whose is bigger is not a legal argument.
Some people think it’s very important, I guess.
So, to Turkey, this is about gas and oil, but also territorial domination of the region.
Turkey’s recent moves in the Eastern Mediterranean have made waves after it signed a maritime deal with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. The deal is a clear signal to other coastal states in the region that the gas game will not be played without Ankara’s consent.
Greece, Egypt, Israel and the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) have previously signed maritime agreements,excluding Turkey, to draw up their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean and launching their own exploration efforts.
“Other international actors cannot conduct exploration activities in the areas marked in the [Turkish-Libyan] memorandum. Greek Cypriots, Egypt, Greece and Israel cannot establish a natural gas transmission line without Turkey’s consent,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, referring to the Ankara-Tripoli deal.
Before the Turkish-Libyan maritime deal, Greece, Israel and the GCA were trying to outmanoeuvre Ankara by designating their own EEZs, signing agreements among themselves.
As part of preventing any incursion by these other meddling states, Turkey has invoked the possibility of military engagement to secure it’s rights.
Starting in Libya it has, anyway, where Erdogan has said he has the legal right to send troops to assist the GNA if they request it despite existing embargoes on Libya.
Turkish soldiers may be deployed in Libya, if the UN-recognised government of Libya were to make such a request, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a live televised interview on Monday.
“If Libya were to invite Turkey, of course Turkey would have the right to go to Libya as per the accord,” Erdoğan said. “We are prepared to give all manner of support to Libya.”
Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) on April 4 launched an assault to topple the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, led by Fayez al Sarraj, and they have since neared Tripoli with support from Russian forces.
“Haftar is not a national representative of Libya there, Sarraj is,” President Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said Turkey was utilising its rights born out of international law with the memorandum of understanding signed between Ankara and the GNA.
The deal between Ankara and the GNA redefines Turkey’s maritime borders in the Mediterranean and affects territorial waters of Cyprus and several Greek islands including Crete, drawing objections from Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.
“The unilateral steps that they took until now, disregarding international law were foiled,” Erdoğan said, referring to Western countries that have voiced concerns.
Recall that the GNA are alleged to be rather unsavory types.
Beyond the Mediterranean
The even more disturbing picture that is emerging is one where Turkey is pursuing a much greater regional dominance than was initially believed.
We’re gonna need a bigger map.
That’s Tripoli with the red mark to the west, by the way. So that’s pretty far into the Med we’re talking about.
So what else has been going on here.
The Guardian: Libya arms embargo being systematically violated by UN states
Jordan, Turkey and UAE singled out for ‘routinely and blatantly’ supplying weapons
UN member states have systematically violated a Libyan arms embargo, according to a long-awaited UN report due to be published on Monday that will identify Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates as the main culprits.
The report is expected to say these three countries “routinely and sometimes blatantly supplied weapons with little effort to disguise the source”. It is also likely to link the UAE to a bombing of a detention centre that has been described as a war crime.
So it appears that Turkey has been working with the GNA in Libya for awhile now, and in conjunction with other countries in the region. And in ways proscribed by the international community. Swell.
Now that we know that there is this kind of coordination—often relatively clandestine coordination—let’s look at some of the areas of engagement.
So, around the Horn of Africa, especially if they are in coordination with UAE.
Also, not pictured in that image is that they basically rebuilt an island off the coast of Sudan so Turkey could have a naval base there.
Turkey has signed a $650m deal to develop an island on the Red Sea.
Turkey has signed an agreement with Sudan that will allow it to have a military presence on the Red Sea.
It is the latest country to expand into the area.
The list of countries already in the region or building bases there include: Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, the UAE and the US.
Al Jazeera: Why are tensions rising in the Red Sea region?
Egypt sends troops to Eritrea as Sudan and Turkey ink a deal to rebuild a Red Sea island and construct a naval dock.
The visit, hailed as historic, was the first by a Turkish head of state since 1956 when Sudan gained independence.
Sudan’s official state news agency said the two countries agreed to set up a strategic planning group to discuss international affairs, and that they intended to conclude a military deal.
Among more than a dozen agreements signed by Erdogan and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was a deal to temporarily lease the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey.
Turkey of course claims this is a humanitarian mission for Africa.
“Therefore, it is also Turkey’s aim to show the entire world that no country can be eternally damned to poverty, and to help Africa get rid of its image as the dark continent.”
Egypt immediately identified it as a threat.
In what may have been a response to fears that Turkey was expanding its influence in the region, Egypt sent hundreds of its troops to a UAE base in Eritrea, on the border with Sudan.
Basically, Turkey has put together a web of regional outposts that allow it a great deal of power over critical global shipping channels for the region’s oil.
Turkey‘s String of Pearls
Micha’el Tanchum: Turkey’s String of Pearls: Turkey’s Overseas Naval Installations Reconfigure the Security Architecture of Mediterranean-Red Sea Corridor, AIES Fokus 4/2019
Turkey will soon preside over an arc of blue-water power projection extending from Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean to Qatar in the Persian Gulf that fundamentally alters the security architecture of the Middle East. Deftly combining soft power initiatives with the construction of coastal military installations in Sudan on the Red Sea and in Somalia on the Arabian Sea, Turkey has created a ‚string of pearls’ that directly challenges the power of Egypt-Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates alliance. With the military entrenchment of Turkey in the Horn of Africa, the Turkey-Qatar versus Egypt-Saudi Arabia-UAE competition has created an incendiary fault-line that now encompasses the entire Eastern Mediterranean-Red Sea maritime corridor.
Backed by Qatar, Turkey’s maritime expansion is also a response to Egypt’s trilateral strategic partnership with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, an alignment supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In this complex web of rival alliances that spans the Aegean and Arabian seas, any one of the previously localized conflicts could ignite a wider regional clash.
Let’s look at the big map again.
So we’re basically talking about a huge area of military influence for Turkey.
This area not coincidentally,—Erdogan often states the reason explicitly—involves control over a huge percentage of the channels for the transportation of energy, be it by pipeline or oil tanker.
And Russia controls or influences a great deal of the pipeline action as well, in particular for Europe.
On top of all this, some of our more shadowy entities appear to be trying to astro-turf a further inquiry into Turkey’s dealings.
Put more simply: Somebody is trying to start some shit about Qatar, Turkey, and the super-evil terrorists (seriously) al-Nusra.
They seem to be the usual puppet type outlets.
The provocatively titled Free Iranian in turn uses as their source the prominent and esteemed Nordic Monitor, whatever that is.
Turkey and Qatar likely provided support to Syrian al-Qaeda group Jabhat al-Nusra, or the al-Nusra Front, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) concluded in 2016.
According to a classified DIA report, a copy of which was seen by Nordic Monitor, it was concluded that the al-Nusra Front “probably received logistical, financial and material assistance from the elements of the Turkish and Qatari governments.” The report, dated June 2, 2016, provided a detailed account of the status of major combatants in Syria with al-Nusra boasting as many as 10,400 fighters due to increased recruitment.
The DIA underlined that al-Nusra maintained a supply of equipment and a robust facilitation network to sustain supplies, ammunition and weapons flows. It drew attention to its cooperation with opposition groups and how it adapted to challenges to participate in key battles against the Syrian regime.
I don’t know if this is true or not. But it’s either true or someone wants people believe it is—probably bad guys either way.
Either way, this is bad.
But let’s finish by circling back to where we began: The Mediterranean.
Recall Greece requested NATO’s aid.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister said Sunday he will ask other NATO members at the alliance’s London summit to support Greece in the face of fellow member Turkey’s attempts to encroach on Greek sovereignty, notably last week’s agreement with Libya delineating maritime borders in the Mediterranean.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the ruling conservative New Democracy party’s congress Sunday that NATO can’t remain indifferent when one of its members “blatantly violates international law” and that a neutral approach is to the detriment of Greece, which has never sought to ratchet up tensions in the area.
Greece had a response the other day that amused observers of the situation.
Of course, we know that NATO is bound up in knots about what to do about Turkish aggression already.
So Greece made some moves of their own. This one from the other day amused many observers of the conflicts in the region.
It is funny, in its own sick war way.
A Greek fighter jet got missile lock on a Turkish ship.
And,obviously, Greece leaked the photo on purpose. It’s not like the pilot could leak it without knowing who it was, yeah?
Basically, they pulled the Top Gun move and put target lock on a Turkish boat to scare the crap out of them. That’s what freaked Cougar out in the movie to the point that he could fly anymore.
It is pretty scary stuff.
Especially given the scope.
“It seems to me at times that whenever a top official from Turkey makes a statement, it is a statement that involves talk of war,” Greece’s new defense minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, told VICE News. “War in Syria. War in the Middle East. War in the Aegean. Now if that isn’t aggressive rhetoric, then I’m wondering what type of rhetoric it is.”
Over the past few years, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel have held an escalating series of large-scale military drills aimed at enhancing cooperation between their air and naval forces, while simultaneously pushing forward with an ambitious scheme to construct a pipeline transporting the newly discovered oil and gas to markets in the European Union. The aim is to strengthen relations between allies, while reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy resources, but it’s impossible to divorce these moves from the broader strategic picture of regional powers unsettled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bellicose rhetoric and growing image as a source of regional instability.
The latest source of tension between the NATO allies is Turkey’s dispatch of drill ships, escorted by warships, into Cypriot waters.
Greece is treaty-bound to defend Cyprus’s territorial integrity, and Turkish encroachment on the island republic’s territory is a source of growing anxiety for Athens.
And we’ve seen just how large the scope it is—which is much longer than it appeared to be.
Finally, just to really put what Turkish influence under Erdogan means, Erdogan said that if offered, he would not accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Because it’s racist.
Now here’s a fun fact: As it happens, the people of northern Syria literally think the Turkish backed militia are worse than ISIS.
Worse than ISIS.
That’s not supposed to be a thing in real life.