Two foes in one company: how NATO reassures Turkey and Greece

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As you know, Turkey and Greece have far from simple relations. Historical grievances and territorial claims to each other. Despite the political proximity of the Turkish and Greek regimes, in the twentieth century, they have repeatedly found themselves on the verge of military confrontation, and sometimes even clashed. One of the stumbling blocks is Cyprus, on whose territory there is still an unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Despite the fact that Greece is a member of NATO, it is almost all of its modern history is on the brink of direct armed conflict with Turkey. At the same time, Athens is well aware that in case of war, they have less chance of winning than Turkey.

Another round of conflict occurred when Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of understanding on Maritime zones at the end of November. Turkey has published a map of Maritime zones “taking into account the Turkish-Libyan Memorandum”, according to which a significant part of the Greek exclusive economic zone “departs” to Turkey.

Greece sharply criticized the agreement, saying Turkey had encroached on Greece’s sovereign rights and was trying to change the map.

Athens has sharply criticized the agreement, saying Turkey has encroached on Greece’s sovereign rights and is trying to change the map of the exclusive economic zone. The Greek foreign Minister invited the Turkish Ambassador in Athens to the foreign Ministry on 28 November for explanations, and on 29 November summoned the Libyan Ambassador, he was asked to immediately report on the contents of the Memorandum, otherwise a decision would be made to expel the Ambassador.

Turkey considered such statements by Greece groundless. Turkish foreign Ministry Hami Aksoy said the Memorandum was based on international law and the Islands could not create zones of Maritime jurisdiction outside their territorial waters. According to Aksoy, for example, the small Greek island of Castelorizo “is supposed to create a zone of Maritime jurisdiction four thousand times larger than its own area.”

The position of the North Atlantic Alliance in this long-standing conflict is particularly interesting. “NATO intends to remain neutral on the issue of Greek-Turkish relations,” Alliance Genera Secretary Stoltenberg said recently:

“Both Greece and Turkey are two valuable allies and both contribute to our common security”.

In other words, let them at least fight among themselves, as long as the money is deducted for ” protection from the common enemy.”

The meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit on the November Memorandum is not expected to bring any significant results. Both sides noted the increased tension between the States, but promised to continue the dialogue.

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