Nikolaos Stelya – Duvar

Greece is ready for the worst case scenario against Turkey regarding the countries’ dispute in the eastern Mediterranean, amid a recent deal signed between Turkey and Libya.

As part of a binding together of Turkey and the Tripoli government, the two sides have also drawn up a memorandum of understanding to carve out drilling rights in the Mediterranean that has infuriated the European Union, and in particular Greece. Athens says the exclusive economic zone agreement in effect blocks Greece from drilling around Crete and is illegal.

The New Democracy government in Greece has been preparing for the worst in the country’s relations with Ankara, with Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis ramping up security in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, especially off Crete, to prevent close contact with Turkey.

Ankara has began to perceive the area between Cyprus coast to southern Crete as a joint operation area for Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Greek press said, adding that Athens has been trying to determine when Turkey will send a ship to the area to “increase tensions.”

Athens has also been concerned about Turkey’s Barbaros vessel, which is expected to return to Taşucu Port in the country’s south, being sent to the parcel in the exclusive economic zone of Libya that was announced recently.

In such a case, tensions would rise in Crete’s continental shelf that Greece lay claims to.

Mitsotakis government is working hard to prevent a major crisis in the area, sources told Duvar, adding that Greek defense and intelligence units has been following Turkey’s steps in the eastern Mediterranean closely and meticulously.

Athens has also been working in the area of diplomacy against Turkey via holding talks with a number of countries.

Ankara’s actions risk an anti-Turkish coalition forming comprising Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy. These countries came together under the umbrella of the eastern Mediterranean gas forum – an outwardly energy-related but ultimately military partnership from which Turkey was excluded. The natural gas reserves in the region are estimated to be around 122 trillion cubic meters in total.