Turkish maneuvers and Greek bases.. the escalation returns to the eastern Mediterranean

Selava Omar –

The period of calm that prevailed in recent days in the eastern Mediterranean region between Turkey and Greece has dissipated, with the two sides announcing military steps in this region rich in gas reserves.

On Tuesday, the Turkish army will launch military naval exercises with live ammunition between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Castillo Rizzo.

On the other hand, the Greek Minister of Defense, “Nikos Panayotopoulos”, informed Parliament on Tuesday of the initiation of the construction of a second military base on the nearby island of Crete.

This base will be along with another in Souda Bay, on the island used by NATO.

In a statement before the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Greek Parliament, the Greek Minister of Defense said that the decision was based on the data imposed by the current circumstances to strengthen Greece’s military presence in the eastern Mediterranean.

These developments come at a time when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues his visit to Greece, where he visits Souda Bay base on the island of Crete, which is one of the bases of NATO.

During his visit to Crete, Pompeo will meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mistakis to discuss developments in the eastern Mediterranean crisis, and to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially in the military field.

A joint statement issued yesterday confirmed the agreement of visions between the two countries regarding the need to solve the crisis through diplomatic means.

Tension had greatly decreased in the eastern Mediterranean region after Ankara announced the withdrawal of a ship exploring for gas, surrounded by warships, from disputed areas between Cyprus and Greece, which Athens considered a “positive step”.

And Turkey stopped its maneuvers in the region and sent diplomatic messages, after it was subjected to great political pressure.

But observers saw that Ankara’s retreat was only a tactical matter and not a strategic decision to stop the tension in this region.

And there are differences between the two countries in NATO over the rights of sovereignty over marine areas and the rights to explore the vast energy resources

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