EU, Greece increasing tension in Cyprus

Published 15.02.2018 01:37

Greece and Greek Cyprus are currently playing a very dangerous game in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Greek Cyprus is jeopardizing a possible permanent solution that might be introduced in Cyprus by relying on Greece and trying to receive support from Israel and Egypt. The EU is on a wrong path in this respect. Instead of supporting Greek Cyprus's plans, the EU should have warned both Greece and Greek Cyprus for the sake of its own interests.

Although the Greek military is quite weak compared to the Turkish military, its provocations threaten peace and hamper the success of the measures Turkey and the EU have taken against illegal migration. The EU and European Parliament are required to call Greece to account if they really want to serve and protect the EU's interests. Greece constitutes a great burden to the EU's economy, as the country cannot even pay its citizens' retirement pensions. The country is harming its own economy even further by attempting large-scaled military maneuvers in the Aegean Sea. Such provocative war games, above all, waste the tax revenue paid by citizens of other EU countries such as Germany, France, Austria, Spain and Belgium.

Why would a German or Austrian citizen have to pay the costs of Greece's absurd actions in the Aegean? The EU public will rightfully pose this question one day.

Earlier this week, Greek assault boats attempted to agitate Turkey, to which Turkey responded.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Ankara Tuesday that the Greeks made provocative actions near the Kardak islets, known as Imia in Greek, and repeated dangerous maneuvers despite Turkey's warnings, upon which the Turkish military did its duty. Although this is a trivial issue Turkey can easily cope with, it is still required to tell Greece to stop.

Greece is marking provocations in the Aegean and the wider Eastern Mediterranean with Greek Cyprus. Greek Cyprus divided the Eastern Mediterranean into 13 parcels, including the off the shores of Turkish Cyprus, and licensed the parcels for natural gas drilling. But neither Turkey nor Turkish Cyprus accepted this parcel system and issued necessary warnings since it breached international law. Turkey especially stressed that the Greek arrival in the third parcel will lead to a serious crisis. Despite that, Greece continues to give gas drilling licenses to foreign companies. Two days ago, a drilling platform called the Saipem 12000, owned by an Italian company, arrived in the third parcel off the shores of Famagusta.

Turkish warships sent the drilling platform back by taking required measures in accordance with international maritime law as they were about to invade the rights of Turkish Cyprus. This was another typical provocation. While making such maneuvers, Greek Cyprus unfortunately abuses some EU-based drilling companies while the EU remains indifferent to the situation. However, the bloc is required to warn and inform the companies about Greek Cyprus. Not only Greek Cypriots inhabit the island of Cyprus. Therefore, drilling activities that solely serve the interests of the Greek Cypriot population infringe on the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

Erdoğan has said on the subject: "No one should think opportunist attempts at gas exploration off Cyprus or Aegean islets go unnoticed. We warn those who overstep their limits not to make miscalculations by trying to take advantage of Turkey's focus on events to its south." This statement clearly sums up the situation. In the light of the Erdoğan's statement, the EU must warn both Greece and the Greek Cyprus about their provocations. No EU country should engage in actions that undermine the entire bloc due to national concerns. Such actions harm the EU above all else.

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