Strange movements in theAegean and in the central-eastern Mediterranean. Maritime patrol aircraft, anti-submarine and drones, in particular Turkish and Greek, trace particular routes, reported by the most important specialized sites. They seem to be looking for something. A “fighter” that some experts indicate has a target: Russia, which has recently been increasing its submarine strength in the Mediterranean. But there are also those who believe that the Greek and Turkish game is aimed mainly between Aegean opponents, and therefore a much more complex match between Ankara and Athens.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. These days, from Russia fairly certain news has arrived on Moscow’s choice to increase the presence of submarines in the depths of the Mediterranean. The Russian agency Tass has relaunched the indiscretion on the arrival of two other units in the Mare Nostrum bringing the total number to five vehicles. The newly arrived submarines should only be in transit from the Baltic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet: a passage that however seems to have aroused the attention of NATO, to the point of causing Turkish and Hellenic reconnaissance aircraft to take off. And so the Atlantic Alliance began its (now usual) search and surveillance of Russian submarines: a “fighter” that had the waters south of the island of Crete as its scenario. Evidence of this intersection between Turkish flights and the presence of Russian submarines is given by the path of a Russian tugboat headed for Tartus and which appears to follow exactly the route used by submarines passing Gibraltar and heading towards Syria. Route monitored with circular movements by NATO patrol boats. The Russian boat, at the time of writing, is a few miles off the southern coast of Cyprus.
On the hunt for Russian submarines, which has now become a fairly common test for the Mediterranean Navies belonging to NATO, is added, as mentioned, the rivalry between Greece and Turkey. A latent rivalry that in recent weeks, after months of calm, seems to have rekindled. The problem is always the same: the search for gas, the exploitation of the fields and the age-old question of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum for the definition of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Qualified sources confirm a InsideOver that Hellenic intelligence, together with its diplomacy, is trying to limit Turkish actions in the eastern and central Mediterranean area, particularly in Libya.
In recent days, many signs have arrived from Turkey that it considers the Mediterranean issue and the Cypriot question a priority on the government’s agenda. Both the Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, be the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan they reiterated Ankara’s willingness to defend the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at all costs. And the two Turkish representatives have confirmed that their country will never accept that there are actions in the eastern Mediterranean that do not involve Ankara. Greek officials, to the newspaper Kathimerini, denied the accusations made by the Turkish government, speaking of “rhetoric”. In any case, the tension seems to increase to such an extent that various diplomatic channels are also starting to move.
At stake are relations with Egypt, with which Turkey wants to find dialogue but which for now is more firmly aligned with the bloc made up of Greece, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. There is the Libyan problem, which remains the main alarm bell for Athens on the Turkish maneuvers in the Mediterranean. The Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoushrecently met with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens and the Greek government put the end of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of understanding on the EEZ on the table. Tripoli has repeatedly confirmed, even with the new executive, that it does not want to retract what was agreed with Ankara, and it is no coincidence that in the same days the president of the High Council of State of Libya, Khaled al Mishri, met Akar in Ankara while some reports (denied by Turkey, however) spoke of Saadi Gaddafi headed for the Anatolian country after his release from prison in Libya.
Nodes that also become visible with the continuous “tests” between the air forces and navies of Greece and Turkey. Turkish drones took off from their bases and, as the tracking sites explain, appeared flying between Antalya and Izmir, while a Bayraktar appeared in the north on the border with Greece. A Greek drone, reports ItalMil Radar, departed from Skyros to fly between Kos and Samos. And last week, a Turkish P-72 made several reconnaissance tours of the Aegean in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR). Moves that the sources heard from InsideOver they believe they may be linked to the rivalries of recent weeks, also confirmed by the new Navtex launched in recent days by Greece and Turkey.