Saturday, May 15, 2010

Erdogan in Athens

There hasn’t been much to report on serious matters of defence lately except that Turkey is generating enormous tensions in the Aegean with Turkish exercises taking place near to Greek shores, Greek aircraft being threatened by Turkey while flying within Greek airspace or the Athens FIR etc. In short, the expected flare up of provocations meant to take advantage of Greece’s current vulnerable position. I would actually be more worried if Turkey behaved normally for a change and wasn’t being so aggressive.

Today’s rant won’t be about Greece’s appeasing reaction to all this or Turkey’s expansionist attitudes. This post is as a result of some of the ridiculously simplistic reporting I have seen in other European countries as a result of Erdogan’s visit to Athens. One report even said “Turkey and Greece bury the hatchet”. And I’m thinking: really? Two days ago Greek Air Force aircraft flying within Greek airspace were threatened by Turkish ships. How much more aggressive can you get without an all out war? Where do some of these reporters get their news from?

So let’s look at one of the areas of “cooperation” where Greece and Turkey “buried the hatchet”. Turkey has signed a protocol with Greece whereby it promises to take back 1,000 illegal immigrants per year, of the ones that illegally cross over from Turkey to Greece. Hang on; Turkey is already obliged to take back many more than that based on existing agreements, not only with Greece but the EU. Why do I feel someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes? Over a hundred thousand illegal immigrants cross over from Turkey into Greece each year. Furthermore, each time a Greek or FRONTEX patrol detects a group of illegal immigrants attempting to cross over into Greece the Turkish Armed forces mysteriously appear and start threatening these patrols, showing once more that the Turkish Armed Forces are involved in smuggling illegal immigrants.*

It would be refreshing to see a news story in the European press that actually gets the story right for once.

*Not surprisingly the threats against FRONTEX have temporarily stopped now that it’s Germany’s turn to supply FRONTEX with the means to carry out these patrols. Obviously the Turks are brave when it comes to smaller countries like Greece, Poland and Lithuania.

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