Tensions in the Aegean Sea rose again to critical levels after the Turkish Coast Guard aimed weapons at their Greek counterparts in the sea area off Farmakonisi Island on Sunday evening.
The incident took place before the likely meeting of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias informed his EU colleagues about “Turkey’s criminal behavior.”
Athens filed a note of protest in Ankara over the incident in Farmakonisi, where a Turkish Coast Guard ship came to the edge of territorial waters, stayed there for 13 minutes, and at some point the crew took aim at a Greek Coast Guard boat that was patrolling the area.
Meanwhile, in New York, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias briefed European Union foreign ministers on the latest incidents of Turkish criminal behavior during a discussion on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
Citing diplomatic sources, the state news agency Amna reported that Dendias had focused on an unacceptable operation by a Turkish warship that disrupted the operation of a research vessel within the limited Greek continental shelf.
He stressed that the research vessel “Nautical geo»Under the Maltese flag is located just 10 nautical miles east of Crete, in the maritime area bordering the economic zone of Greece, defined by the Greek-Egyptian agreement of August 6, 2020.
Dendias noted that Turkey’s behavior has now gone beyond any logic and in no way corresponds to the image of “normalcy” that Turkey wants to promote. As he commented, this situation, unfortunately, has nothing to do with reality.
Confusion has arisen over a possible meeting of Mitsotakis and Erdogan in New York after the latter said on Sunday that it had accepted Greece’s request for a meeting. On Monday morning, the Greek side rejected the existence of such a request, but did not rule it out.
The confusion also erupted after the foreign minister announced Ankara’s sharp demarche over Nautical Geo’s persecution over the weekend. But on Monday, an older demarche about “illegal fishing by Turkish fishermen in the Aegean Sea” was broadcast to the media.
PS At the moment, there seems to be some disagreement within the ruling New Democracy regarding further actions with neighboring Turkey. The prime minister is under pressure following the August wildfires and rising prices, and needs to be “successful”, at least on the issue with Turkey. At the same time, his potential successors in the ND, including the prime minister, are setting the stage for the post-Mitsotakis era.
One colleague told me on Monday that “the PR team of the Prime Minister has come to the end of its creative path and does not know how to improve his” killed to the limit “image.” He suggested that they were trying to create a situation so that “the Turks would kneel down, beg for a meeting, and then present it as a victory …”. But the Turkish leadership, unfortunately (for Mitsotakis’s team), does not smoke such a big plan.