Last Monday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was characterizing Greece’s forces as “dilapidated.” He is calling on Athens to seek a dialogue with Turkey. He is also criticizing the EU. The EU is backing EU member Greece in the dispute.
Erdogan said this in a Cabinet meeting, “I advise those who, instead of sitting around the table with us, show defiance with their dilapidated military forces, to carefully inspect our diplomatic efforts and military operations of the past four years… Turkey will continue to follow a determined and active policy in the eastern Mediterranean…″
Last Saturday, Erdogan was warning Greece. Enter talks over the dispute of eastern Mediterranean territorial claims or face the consequences.
Erdogan says, “They’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences…”
Last Monday, a senior NATO official met with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and senior military officials in Ankara. The discussion was about the standoff. It includes also a NATO initiative. Its aim is avoiding the risk of “accidents” between the two allies.
Are Turkey’s motives territorial, religious, or empire building?
Akar’s office said he did talk with Gen. Stuart Peach, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. Turkey backs the NATO initiative. It attaches importance to “dialogue and good neighborly relations” for the resolution of problems. Turkey has the determination to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
In Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias says Turkey is the only regional country “that threatens its neighbors with war when they want to exercise their legal rights in blatant violation of the U.N. Charter… [Turkey] “has a clear choice: dialogue without threats or sanctions.”
Turkey is a Muslim country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known to want to establish himself as Caliph. He aspires to restore the Ottoman Empire.
He would assert Turkish dominance in Islam if he could. Taking back what he views as Muslim territory can support his claim to the caliphate. Is the Caliphate instigating conflict in the eastern Mediterranean? Maybe, it is certainly an undercurrent in this dispute.