Threat of war between Ankara and Athens

After several incidents the dispute between Turkey and Greece looks set to escalate further. First Ankara accused Athens of threatening jets in its airspace over the Aegean Sea, which the Greek side denied. Now the Turkish government has said that the Greek coast guard opened fire on a Turkish cargo ship. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to attack Greek islands.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Bring both sides to reason

For the taz's Turkey correspondent Jürgen Gottschlich the situation is extremely dangerous:

“What may have been intended as theatrical sabre-rattling [in the election campaign] could easily get out of hand in this tense atmosphere. An exchange of fire could escalate because no one wants to lose face and both sides feel strong at the moment. It's high time the EU and the US made it clear to both sides that the last thing the world needs now is another war.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Turkey needs to be put in its place

Athens and Nicosia must stop acting scared, demands Phileleftheros:

“In the case of Cyprus and Greece, Erdoğan is trying to use fear to impose his demands. He believes that the more threatening he becomes, the more fear he will trigger in his two neighbouring countries and in this way force them to give in to his demands. After all, there are several good examples in the past in which both Cyprus and Greece compromised and met the Turkish side's demands. ... It's time for both Athens and Nicosia to change their tactics and approach vis-à-vis Turkey.”

To Vima (GR) /

Focus on deterrence

The Greek military leadership's declaration that it is prepared for war if necessary is entirely appropriate, To Vima comments:

“The message to Ankara is clear and direct. We maintain a defensive posture, but we are prepared for the worst-case scenario, and we are ready to enter the ring, knowing that we shall suffer serious harm but so will you. ... By preparing and displaying our military capabilities, we are restraining the war scenarios. The truth be told, a prospective Greek-Turkish war will push both countries 50 years back.”

Milliyet (TR) /

EU needs Turkey's cooperation

The EU should explain the current balance of power to Greece, says Milliyet:

“The EU should monitor the situation, act with caution and put the brakes on Greece. Not the least because the EU countries expect a very difficult winter because of the problems with Russia. But no one has learned from the conflicts and tensions. The biggest test for the EU will be Greece. Although the EU is looking for alternatives, it is very difficult to transport gas to Europe without Turkey. The EU must implement a win-win project with Turkey, and must make spoiled Greece face the facts. This is the only way to ensure peace, prosperity and security in the region.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Show Erdoğan the red line

Kathimerini criticises the attitude of Greece's Western partners:

“They believe that with flattery and kid gloves they will discourage President Erdogan from taking any extreme action in the Aegean or the Eastern Mediterranean. ... They prefer the soft approach in the hope that he won't get angry and do something unreasonable. ... Experience shows that only straight talk and practical deterrence prevent major incidents from international authoritarian agitators. …. It is a mistake for anyone to think that they are calming someone, when that person does not hide his intentions. And if you wait for a 'fatal night' in the Aegean to do it, it will be too late - for Western interests too.”

T24 (TR) /

Growing threat of war in the Aegean

Changes on both sides are making military confrontation more likely, T24 warns:

“Of course you can read the tensions in the Aegean as traps set by Athens for Turkey to put Greece in the spotlight. But that doesn't quite cover it. ... The tensions in the Aegean also result from the fact that air force superiority has passed or is passing to Greece. ... Another point worth noting is that if the Turkish leadership comes to the conclusion that the next elections will not allow them to retain power, a confrontation could provide the pretext for annulling the vote.” (GR) /

Erdoğan is paving a way to the East

The Turkish president is making a foreign-policy U-turn, Protagon observes:

“The aggressive rhetoric of the Turkish president can be read from two perspectives. Firstly, it is determined by a difficult election campaign. At the same time he has a deep-rooted sense that the West is in a phase of decline and is therefore looking for an opportunity to speak out openly in favor of the 'rising' camp of the East. ... For now Erdoğan's ties with the real power in the East, China, are somewhat limited. But his increasingly open and direct attitude towards Russia speaks volumes about his general conviction.”