The German press focuses on the escalation strategy, which seems to be chosen by Turkish President Erdogan towards Greece.
«Conflict with Greece: How Erdogan could use refugees as a means of pressureIs the title in response from Athens to the electronic version of the financial inspection Handelsblatt. Among other things, we read: “In Greece, the concern for a new refugee crisis is growing. Since the beginning of the week, more than 600 people have attempted to travel by boat from the Turkish coasts to Greece and Italy. The number of illegal crossings is also increasing on the land border of Greece with Turkey. “According to the Greek authorities, about 350 people try to cross the river Evros every day.”
The correspondent of the newspaper in Athens notes that “in the past, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had used immigrants for political purposes” and estimates that “now Greek-Turkish relations are heading for a new low. In recent days, Athens has recorded an increased number of flights of Turkish warplanes over Greek islands. Last Friday, two Turkish F-16s approached at a distance of 4.6 kilometers from the port of Alexandroupolis, in Northern Greece. For its part, Turkey accuses Greece of airspace violations on the Turkish shores of the Aegean. For decades, the two NATO partners have been at loggerheads over Exclusive Economic Zones and sovereign rights in the eastern Mediterranean. “In the summer of 2020, the confrontation led the two countries to the brink of military conflict.”
Why Erdogan chooses escalation
“Erdogan’s policy of escalation” – and in fact on several fronts – the newspaper Die Welt states in its response from Athens: “While Turkey is still blocking, as the only NATO member country, the accession of the northern countries, its president announces his next venture with explosive foreign policy: a new military offensive in northern Syria. At the same time, it cuts off all contact with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “These developments show that in the field of foreign policy, Erdogan is following a course of escalation, at a time when he has consciously chosen.”
The correspondent of the German newspaper claims that “apart from security issues, for Erdogan it seems that domestic political expediencies also play an important role. A year before the election, his party is losing ground in opinion polls, while inflation in the country is around 70%. Previous military operations in Syria had improved his image in opinion polls. “War unites the country.”
“Warm summer” in the Aegean
The Frankfurter Rundschau predicts a “warm summer”. As it states in its response from Athens, “the Turkish government is sharpening its tones towards Greece. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoλουlu calls on the neighboring country to withdraw its troops from Aegean islands such as Rhodes, Kos, Lesvos and Samos. “We are not bluffing,” Tsavousoglu said on the return plane after a visit to Israel. “If Greece does not comply, we will proceed with this case.” The minister did not explain what measures Turkey intends to take.
Concerns about new tensions are growing in Athens. On Thursday, Greece announced about 40 violations of its airspace by Turkish fighter jets. Turkey claims that Greece is losing sovereign rights to islands in the Eastern Aegean, since it has stationed troops there. “In Turkey’s view, this is not in line with the Lausanne and Paris Treaties, which provided for the demilitarization of the islands.”
Source: News Beast