The US and its Western allies proceed to carry Greece in heat embrace regardless of Athens taking part in a destabilising position in NATO.
Turkish-Greek relations are as soon as once more experiencing a downturn on account of Athens’ repeated hostile and provocative strikes. The so-called ‘dogfights’ over the Aegean Sea have been considerably customary between Turkish and Greek fighter pilots for years however there’s a seen uptick in Greek violations of Turkish airspace since final yr.
The Greek hostilities have now begun to cross harmful margins – the newest incident of Greece locking radar on Turkish F-16s, which had been performing their duties as a part of a NATO mission, acts as a powerful indicator of Athen’s rising recklessness.
To cap it off, on August 23, Turkish F-16s enterprise a mission in worldwide airspace had been harassed by Greece’s Russian-made S-300 air defence programs stationed in Crete. The Turkish Defence Ministry is reportedly within the strategy of offering the radar logs of the harassment to NATO’s Secretary-Normal and the defence ministries of the alliance.
Though the harassment constitutes a transparent ‘hostile act’ towards Türkiye based mostly on NATO’s guidelines of engagement, it’s not as clear whether or not NATO will discover Greece responsible and duly condemn the act. At a time when NATO’s solidarity is essential, given the alliance’s desired growth with the inclusion of Sweden and Finland and the continued warfare in Ukraine, NATO just isn’t prone to pin the blame on Greece or at the least to reinforce the escalation by taking a stance.
What occurred after a naval incident between Turkish and French vessels within the Mediterranean Sea on June 10, 2020, and the aftermath inside the context of the warfare in Libya is kind of illustrative. Paris accused the Turkish navy of a ‘hostile act’ towards the French frigate Courbet, which was allegedly illuminated by the focusing on radar of a Turkish warship.
Ankara responded by offering related footage and information on the incident through a presentation by the Turkish ambassador to the French Senate in addition to to NATO, which demonstrated that it was truly the French frigate that engaged in a provocative act towards the Turkish vessel. Nonetheless, after a probe into the incident, NATO determined to maintain the findings of the investigation confidential by deeming them too delicate to debate in public.
Subsequently, maintaining NATO solidarity intact and de-escalating between two allies by avoiding a definitive stance prevailed over establishing the reality. As NATO’s concord and solidarity in its south-eastern flank are arguably extra necessary within the context of the warfare in Ukraine, it might be no shock if NATO appears to be like the opposite approach this time, too.
Right here lies the very structural and elementary asymmetry between the devices of Türkiye and its NATO allies at their disposal in circumstances of battle or standoff. While the Turkish facet of the story is never included within the mainstream worldwide media protection of those particular incidents, ‘the opposite facet’s’ model of the story turns into the dominant and even the one narrative, disproportionately shaping worldwide public opinion in a sure route.
Due to this ‘pure barrier’ Türkiye in its scramble for making its case, Ankara can solely get its message by NATO’s related our bodies. Whereas Türkiye’s narrative is heard solely inside a closed circuit at an elite and institutional stage, the competing narratives are simply publicised and broadly disseminated, creating a very beneficial public notion of the ‘anti-Türkiye’ narrative. This Achilles heel of Türkiye is without doubt one of the foremost causes for the reckless and escalatory behaviour of its NATO allies in circumstances of confrontation.
Greece’s newest hostile acts in direction of Türkiye are motivated by a combination of the talked about Achilles heel of Türkiye and the precise context of the warfare in Ukraine. A more in-depth take a look at Athens’ Türkiye-related actions, particularly for the reason that starting of the warfare in Ukraine, would reveal the previous’s strategic objective: overshadowing Ankara’s rising profile and improved picture within the West inside the context of the warfare in Ukraine and denying it the flexibility to reap the diplomatic fruits.
By ramping up its provocative strikes to the extent of locking on its ally’s jets, Athens is craving for a knee-jerk response from Turkish army personnel who’re on the line of contact with the Greek army property. Such a response from the Turkish army, and even an accident, could be a boon for Athens to evoke the picture of an aggressor for Türkiye within the West, however not only a ‘random aggressor’, a particularly ‘Russia-like aggressor’.
Athens goals to construct an argument utilizing the ‘Westward wanting, oppressed Ukraine” as a binary to caste Türkiye as a “non-Western” energy that seeks to assault Greece similar to “barbarian Russia” attacked Ukraine.
Drawing parallels between Türkiye and Russia is a simple tactic to realize the eye of Western leaders and painting Ankara as an aggressor ought to any flare-up happen between the 2 allies.
Greece’s anti-Türkiye narrative is totally flawed as Ankara has brazenly opposed Russia’s invasion of Crimea greater than another nation and has performed a task of a profitable arbiter within the Ukraine-Russia battle whereas sustaining diplomatic ties with either side.
Türkiye’s shuttle diplomacy ultimately bore fruit because the warring sides agreed to signal the vital Grain Hall deal in July, which helped handle the chance of mass hunger worldwide.
In mild of Ankara’s accomplishments in making the world a safer place, Greece is unable to cover its envy and as an alternative resorts to blunt, primitive strategies of harassing its neighbour, which is totally able to placing the Greek management as an alternative.
Nonetheless, if Athens can not obtain ‘an accident’ because of its provocations, the truth that ‘incidents’ happen between the Greek and Turkish militaries is sweet sufficient for the previous. On the finish of the day, this can be a warfare fought within the realm of pictures, perceptions, and public opinions. And mere ‘incidents’ going down between Türkiye and different NATO allies are sufficient to create spanners for Ankara, which is already problematised by a few of its allies as ‘the problematic member’ of the alliance, on account of its distinctive approach of sustaining its neutrality between Ukraine and Russia.
Athens can be conscious of the robust collective want—which isn’t disguised in any respect—within the Western capitals to strong-arm Ankara into altering its present coverage in direction of Moscow and totally band-wagoning the West.
The discontent of each Washington and Brussels with Ankara’s “too shut” ties with Moscow, provides Athens a carte blanche for escalating towards Ankara all it needs. Whatever the extent of the incompatibility of Athens’ behaviour with the spirit of alliance, it is aware of that politics issues greater than regulation beneath the present circumstances.
Since NATO just isn’t ready to play the decide or the referee between Türkiye and Greece in authorized phrases, it’s as much as the political will of the opposite members of the alliance to rein within the latter. And at a time when Ankara doesn’t ‘behave’, it might not be unhealthy if it ‘takes some beating’ by the hands of Athens.
Athens is conscious of this ‘temper’ within the West, and it’s having fun with and exploiting a uncommon overlap of two adversarial developments for Ankara. Ankara’s long-term and structural handicap in successful over the worldwide public opinion in circumstances of a stand-off with its Western allies is now coupled with its contextual drawback inside the context of the warfare in Ukraine as its Western allies don’t assume Ankara’s neutrality is ‘ok’, it must do extra.
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