The Risk of Growing Escalation
Greece and Turkey are planning rival naval exercises amid an escalating row over energy claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In an interview with Les Échos, GMF Vice President Ian Lesser said the current deterioration of relations could lead to further escalation.
Greece, together with France and Italy, has launched military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean. “The decision to conduct these exercises is a political act and participating in them shows solidarity with Greece and growing consternation with Turkey,” said Ian Lesser.
Turkey has been very assertive in defending its maritime interests. According to Lesser, Erdogan’s focus is less on territorial sovereignty than on domestic politics. Erdogan seeks to “appeal to Turkey’s nationalist circles,” which are “wary of Erdogan’s authoritarian course” he said.
The EU and the United States have clearly opposed Turkey’s actions. “Washington’s support for Turkey has practically evaporated,” said Lesser. Although relations with Turkey remain important, “discontent with Turkey is growing, especially after Turkey purchased Russian S-400 missiles.”