Is a Greek – Turkish War possible? Its potential implications for EU, Germany, Russia and China

Βy Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

In a previous article we discussed the decision of Ankara to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque in the wider and changing strategic context of Eastern Mediterranean and of shifting Turkish politics.
This decision and also the outrageous Turkish – Libyan Memorandum on dividing maritime zones in Eastern Mediterranean, which does not recognize any rights to the Greek islands, are two policies which add fuel to an escalating crisis between Greece and Turkey, a crisis with the potential of bringing the two countries to war. Such a possibillity is already discernible in the event Turkey tries to make drills near the coasts of the Greek islands of Kastellorizo, Rhodes and Crete. The Greek government will be, in such a case, under enormous pressure to react militarily and, if it does not react, will risk to fall.
A war between Greece and Turkey may be desired by international centers of power in order, among other things, to curtail Turkish independence tendencies and to undermine Erdogan by pushing him to “overextension”. This is a classic method used with Saddam, with Milosevic and with the Greek CIA-imposed dictator Ioannides, who organized a coup d’ etat in Cyprus believing (and having assurances) he will unite it with Greece in 1974, only to see the Turkish army invade the island. The architect of all this operation, behind both the Greek and the Turkish side of the equation, was the criminal figure of Henry Kissinger, ancestor of the present – day Neocons, who is said to enjoy, even nowadays, a considerable influence on Donald Trump. We cannot exclude that such a method was used already in 2015, by imperial centers encouraging Turkey to shut down a Russian aircraft. This incident could have provoked a crisis between Russia and Turkey, leading to conflict between them, undermining Russian presence in the Middle East and Erdogan’s power in Ankara.
Important advisers to Mr Erdogan have repeatedly expressed fears that Greece and Cyprus have become “instruments” of the United States and Israel against Turkey. But in fact, with decisions such as those for drilling outside the Greek islands or for Hagia Sophia, it is the Turkish leadership itself which is strengthening in reality and providing arguments to the forces, if any, inside Greece, that they might want or feel obliged to go to a conflict with Turkey, whether they are purely local, or instigated by foreign powers.
Turkish miscalculations
Ankara is making a series of mistakes with Greece. First, it overestimates  the risk to its interests, even as it is understanding them, put by the EastMed pipeline (Israel – Cyprus – Greece) project. This project is extremely unlikely to lead anywhere, this pipeline is extremely unlikely to ever be built: deposits have not yet been found to justify its enormous cost and technical difficulty; there is no recipient of the energy, Italy did not agree to buy the gas and Europe is shifting away from fossil fuels; the construction of the pipeline will need probably the previous delimitation of maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, which does not seem easy or even feasible. The main use of all those fanfares about the pipeline seems to be directing not so much in building this pipeline, as to provoke a crisis in Eastern Mediterranean and provide Israel and the US with one more pressure and negotiating tool towards Ankara.
In this regard, Turkey seems to be starting from the fear that it is in danger of some kind of “isolation” in Anatolia, a fear well enshrined in Turkish national psychology for historical reasons, but completely unfounded. Maybe it is also moved by the desire to exploit most of the region’s hydrocarbons. Some people say those hydrocarbons are enormous but in reality we don’t know if this is true. The supposed “enormity” of those deposits can very well be a myth propagated by various parties, in order exactly to provoke a crisis in Mediterranean. In the same time, energy prices are pushed downwards.
In realistic terms, neither Greece and Cyprus, or Turkey, have the force to impose their own pax in Eastern Mediterranean. If any of the sides try to accomplish such a goal a conflict will be the result and there will be no winner in such a conflict, except for third powers, which want to dominate the whole region. The two countries dispose weapons which can provoke enormous catastrophes one to the other. Between Greece and Turkey there is a kind on “terror equilibrium” by conventional, not by nuclear means.
The EastMed pipeline will probably never be built, yet already poses, along with the outrageous Turkish-Libyan memorandum, a very real risk of ignition.
Turkey, moreover, as has become clear with the immigration crisis in the river Evros, underestimates Greece, it believes probably that it will frighten it with what it does and will push it to huge concessions in order to avoid a conflict. It does not understand that it is the weakness, not the strength of Greece, and especially of the elites that govern it, in desperate need of proving their very legitimacy to govern, which can facilitate a flare-up at any given time, regardless of the immediate reasons for such a conflict. Greece is a humiliated country, destroyed by its European partners and world Finance. It will hardly afford a new humiliation, especially by a historic rival.
In some situations you need more courage to make a compromise than to pretend to be brave. Besides it is very difficult for the Greek elites to make compromises, because since 1996 they have done so many concessions to US, Germany, Turkey and Israel, they lack now the moral capital necessary to make any compromise, without risking to be considered as betraying their motherland.
The way for Greece and Turkey to come into conflict is not for one of the two capitals to plan it. All the crises, wars and agreements between Greece and Turkey during the last century were planned outside the region, but were executed by Greeks and Turks.Foreign powers were able to determine the perception of one side for the other and push them to a number of actions which had the desired effect. After 1955, the Greek – Turkish conflict was the only way to keep Cyprus under the imperial control and to deny to the inhabitants of the island the right to apply their sovereignty. Behind the conflicting sides it was the same force, the NATO super-secret Gladio network, which was controlling in the same time and directing Greek far right, sectors of the Turkish Army and the right wing Greek- and Turkish- Cypriot nationalists in Cyprus itself.

The mechanism that can lead to a military conflict is when both sides are trapped in a series of actions which lead to a self-sustaining dynamic when, from one point and beyond, neither side will feel that it can retreat without such a retreat being perceived as a heavy national defeat and humiliation. .