Greece will defend its [territorial] integrity and sovereign rights,” he said Tuesday. Relations further soured in July over the re-conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque. But it’s not only Russia that backs Haftar in Libya. nations such as Germany, Spain, and Italy. It has repeatedly warned Turkey against carrying out further exploration. Greece is a firm and sincere supporter of Turkey’s EU accession course, because Greece believes that the European Union is a catalyst for regional stability and growth, and that Turkey’s accession, if the EU standards are met, will benefit Turkey itself, Europe and the wider region. After 1996, Greek Foreign Minister, and later Prime Minister, George Papandreou charted a major change of direction in Greek–Turkish relations. Turkey hosts almost 4 million migrants and refugees as part of a 2016 deal with the E.U. Greek seismologist Akis Tselentis warned that aftershocks could prove powerful because of the shallow depth of the quake — roughly 10 kilometers. Here’s what to know about the trouble brewing in the Mediterranean: On the surface, it’s a dispute over energy. They have enough on their plate trying to deter Russia and China,” says IISS’s Hokayem. Now, geostrategic relations have flipped. Dramatic footage broadcast by Turkish television was interplayed against domestic stills of search efforts in Samos, where two teenagers were crushed to death by a building whose walls crumbled and balcony fell as the pair were walking home from school. in 2004 despite its divided status. Since it began in mid-August, Turkey’s drilling program, and the gunboat diplomacy that has followed, has contributed to a situation so volatile German foreign minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday warned: “any small spark could lead to catastrophe.” It has prompted Turkey to announce new live-fire military drills to be held off Cyprus’s northern coast next week, with Greece planning rival navy exercises with France, Cyprus, and Italy. Who Will Be TIME's Person of the Year for 2020? The reality is that Russia would find much more success in building flourishing relations with a NATO member by prioritizing relationship building with Greece. “We invite our counterparts to smarten up and avoid mistakes that will cause their ruin,” Erdogan said on Wednesday. “The adversarial positions of the UAE and Turkey across the Middle East and North Africa are spilling into the East Mediterranean dispute, as can be seen by the UAE dispatch of fighter jets,” says Nigar Goksel Turkey project director at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. All but two of the people killed — the two teenage students — were from Turkey. Turkey's MTA Oruc Reis seismic vessel, which is escorted by Turkish navy, is seen offshores of Eastern Mediterranean on August 10, 2020. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece will bolster its military with new arms, more personnel and by developing the country’s defense industry, the government said Monday, as a tense standoff with neighboring Turkey has led to concerns of open conflict between the two NATO allies. Greek media reported this week that the Russian Navy has gathered nine military vessels between Cyprus and Syria, including three submarines. In his speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about a major difference separating Greece and Turkey, and not about the single one, referring to the delimitation of maritime zones. On Tuesday, Greece’s foreign minister Nikos Dendias accused Erdogan of advancing a “neo-Ottoman” strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of an “attempt to implement expansionist aims against neighbors and allies.” That’s an allegation frequently leveled at the Turkish leader, whom critics have dubbed a “modern Sultan.”. And most recently, both sides have been embroiled in a heated energy standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, bringing them to the brink of war during the summer. In a week in which Erdogan resolved to make “no concessions on that which is ours” and Greece announced it would extend its maritime territory around some of its islands unrelated to the dispute, the tensions are only escalating. It spans quotidian concerns such as the origins of the dessert baklava to grave disagreements over historical atrocities. All Rights Reserved. Turkey into the EU. Still, millions of Greeks kept glued to their television sets watching their neighbor's tragedy unfold alongside their own. If not, they should keep out of our way.”, There are few moderating voices. Last November, Turkey signed a maritime accord with Libya’s U.N.-backed government that would permit expanded Turkish drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean. But Turkey says that is an unfair interpretation of international law that unjustly encroaches on its own exclusive economic zone. Ministry of National Defense—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Are TIME's 2020 Person of the Year. 4. Cyprus’s unresolved status features in the Eastern Mediterranean dispute because Turkey considers any deals Cyprus signs on energy exploitation illegal unless the TRNC is also involved. Turkey is much more geostrategic than Greece and Russia invested heavily into improving relations with Ankara through extremely difficult times. Relations between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey have traditionally been taut, and the neighbors have long been at loggerheads over a slew of territorial disputes. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Frontline Health Workers Are TIME's 2020 Guardians of the Year, You can unsubscribe at any time. “The E.U. Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voiced support for the Mediterranean drilling program. In 1983 a Turkish-Cypriot politician declared a breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey. On Saturday, France offered assistance to both countries, extending “full solidarity to both Greece and Turkey.”, Hundreds were injured; residents spent the night outside, NATO allies, already at odds over several issues, squabbling over maritime territory in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Greek navy deploys ships, raising new potential for confrontation between the two NATO members in ongoing standoff over oil and gas, Top State Department official says when it comes to tensions with Ankara, the US, allies watch for ‘actions from Moscow to cleave us apart’, Despite tense bilateral relationship, Erdogan and Trump have gotten along well personally, but some Turks also see hope in Democrats’ past pragmatism, Deadly Earthquake Warms Relations Between Greece and Turkey, At Least 27 Dead as Powerful Quake Hits Major Turkish City, Greek Islands, Pompeo Urges Greece, Turkey to Resume Talks Over Territorial Spat, Greece Puts Navy on Alert as Turkey Tensions Flare Again, West Is in Danger of Losing Turkey, US Warns, Turkey Keeps Eyes On US Election as Regional Tensions Rise, Time Running Out on Britain-EU Trade, Security Deal, One Year After Pipeline Dispute, Russia Resumes Construction, WHO Seeks Global Access to Approved Coronavirus Vaccines, With Trade Dipping, Turkey Works to End Isolation. France sends forces into eastern Mediterranean to quell tensions between Greece, Turkey Greece has demanded Turkey withdraw its ships from an area it claims as its own Relations between France and Turkey have soured in recent months over Ankara’s role in NATO, Libya and the Mediterranean. The most serious confrontation was in 1974, when Turkey invaded the Eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, following an abortive coup by supporters of union with Greece. He lifted Greece’s objections to Turkey’s EU aspirations and energetically supported Turkey’s bid for EU candidate status. At least 60 separate aftershocks have jolted the Greek islands of Samos and Ikaria since the deadly 7.0 earthquake hit the region, experts in Athens said Saturday. It’s a long list, complicated by Turkey and European states’ entanglements in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Greece has rejected new calls by Turkey to start exploratory talks to settle their maritime differences, feeding into a long-running and dangerous energy standoff in the eastern Mediterranean. By signing up you are agreeing to our, A Biden Presidency Could Change U.S.-India Relations, Why TIME Chose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 2020 Person of the Year. Athens’ hardline response—including using violence against asylum seekers—drew criticism from human rights groups. France, along with Greece and Cyprus, has taken a hardline stance against Turkey, compared to the more conciliatory approach favored by E.U. In phone calls on Wednesday, U.S. President Trump expressed concern to his Greek and Turkish counterparts over the rising tensions, urging the two NATO members to commit to dialogue, according to a White House Press Secretary. EOKA-B and the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) were responsible for many atrocities which resulted in cementing tensions and led to total isolation of the communities with Turkish Cypriots withdrawn into enclaves. But Turkey’s muscular approach to the contested waters enjoys bipartisan support. The history of Turkey-Greece bilateral relations has been fraught with diplomatic tensions and conflict, interrupted by brief moments of peace and calm. Greece and Turkey have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once over drilling exploration rights in the Aegean Sea that separates the two countries. The E.U. Athens and Ankara only recent re-established a military hotline but diplomatic talks planned initially for the start of October were scrapped. As Turkey’s E.U. As Greece became a member of the EU and Turkey became a candidate, the relations have softened to some extent. “But the reality is that when the U.S. veers away from some of the issues and decides not to be implicated in their management, actually things get worse and the U.S. may be dragged back in.”, It’s increasingly plausible, if unlikely. In February, Erdogan briefly made good on a long-held threat to “open the gates” allowing tens of thousands of asylum seekers to cross over into Greece. But as the brinkmanship increases, so does the possibility of accidental escalation. Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com. They include the conflicted status of Cyprus, the wars in Libya and Syria, and the ongoing power struggles in the region as U.S. influence wanes. Get the latest news and developments on Greece-Turkey state affairs. In an interview with The Greek Herald, Professor of International Relations and a specialist on Greek-Turkish Relations, Ilias Kouskouvelis, discusses the present and future predictions of Greece’s relations with Turkey. Greece, meanwhile, considers Turkish gas exploration near Cyprus illegal. The awkward coexistence between Greece and Turkey since the mid-1990s, when the two countries came … doesn’t have any carrots to offer Turkey that would override nationalist sentiments,” she says, “I think Ankara’s strategic thinkers sincerely want negotiations, but they don’t think they could get them unless they create havoc.”. The U.S. Navy’s top admiral in Europe warned last year that Moscow is in the process of turning the eastern Mediterranean into one of the world’s most militarized zones, in part as a result of building up a naval hub at the Syrian port of Tartus. The powerful tremor originated from a 250-kilometers-long fault line off the coast of Samos, streaming across the Aegean Sea that divides the two adversaries. Greece has sought to bolster its Mediterranean presence in recent weeks in response to heightened tension with Turkey, ramping up its meanoeuvres but sparking accusations of … Relations between Greece and Turkey are complicated by a range of disputes, from jurisdiction in the Mediterranean to ethnically split Cyprus. Greek–Turkic enmity far predates the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Russia has yet to make a public statement on the Greece–Turkey tensions but it is deeply entrenched in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where Erdogan recently announced Turkey’s biggest ever gas find. War between two NATO members in the Mediterranean would be an unmitigated disaster, and both sides have voiced their desire for negotiations. The current crisis is the most dangerous in decades in the history of relations … Save on the cover price & free e-Gift card for Giftees! The two countries have quarrelled over migrants crossing into Greece; then Greece was … For centuries, Turkey and Greece have shared a chequered history. One is the flow of migrants from the Middle East to Europe. Greece’s position is that each of its islands—and there are thousands of them—is entitled to its own continental shelf with exclusive drilling rights. The Republic of Cyprus joined the E.U. As in northwest Syria, Russia and Turkey have emerged as power brokers of the battlespace in Libya. French President Emmanuele Macron—who labeled Turkey’s Libya incursion “criminal”—earlier in August briefly dispatched two Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate in support of Greece. Turkey for carrying out seismic surveys off the north Cypriot coast, these times... 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