Turkey’s domestic situation is highly unstable with terrorist attacks, increasing economic problems, unemployment, clashes against the Kurds at its south-east borders, tens of thousands of arrests that had as their source the heart of the Turkish state leading to the failed coup attempt on July.
The foreign affairs couldn’t be better than the domestic ones, where pivots and confrontations are the most appropriate words to describe the Turkish foreign policy especially during 2016.
Erdogan, especially after the failed coup attempt in July, puts all of his efforts into being written in Turkey’s modern history as the new Great Sultan or the new great Father of Turkey (Ataturk) by replacing Kemal’s legacy.
He has recently tried to downgrade the achievements and the name of Kemal Ataturk as well as the rest written names in Turkey’s modern history. This is something that has already begun from the very first day that he pointed the Lausanne Treaty as a great failure for Turkey. At the same time his vision for a greater fills with pride the Turkish mass and awakes the great sleeping beast: the Turkish imperialism. It is important to mention that due to the thousands arrests of military personnel in the summer clashes, the Turkish army has become almost 100% pro-Erdogan.
Erdogan could violate the international law with some actions like a mini invasion to a neighbor country, which would mean extension of the Turkish borders and at the same time an effort to fix “the injustices of the Lausanne treaty” as he told in one of his recent speeches. This invasion could take place either at its southeast borders or at its west borders.
At its southeast borders is Syria and Iraq where is gathered the global attention and the biggest military forces have also gathered to fight ISIS. The US-led coalition as well Russia, want to be sure that there is nothing going to be out of their plans during the after ISIS era. This makes it really difficult for Turkey to implement its expansion plans at this side of its borders.
At its west borders, there is Greece, which is in a deep recession the last seven years and in a political disorganization. Greece being busy with various and lots of challenging problems is an easy prey for Erdogan’s expansionistic plans. Erdogan knows it very well and now has instigated the Albanians to raise issues such as the continental shelf and the Chameria. He also has a very big gun on his hands against Greece and that is the migratory flows that are ready to cross the sea borders from Turkey’s shores to Greece.
Greece is becoming increasingly powerless to protect its sovereign rights from its neighbors that covet Greek soil. Due to a non-stable foreign policy all these years between Russia and US, which more or less was depended on the ruling party each time, and thus due to not stable powerful strategic bilateral bonds, Greece cannot rely on any country in case that Turkey invades. Additionally to that, the political scene of two big forces such as the White House and France, which could back in one point Greece in a serious military episode, is volatile due to transitions. Another big force that has the power to not letting Erdogan accomplish his big plans in the area of Aegean, has been focused on backing Asad in Syria against the rebels and doesn't seem to be interested being involved in such a situation. It is unknown how Germany will react in such a crisis because there are many serious issues at stake such as the migrant deal. The rest of Europe, Israel as well as NATO seem to be neutral in a possible military episode, which means that Greece is standing alone in front of an increasingly aggressive Erdogan and his expansive ambitions.
Erdogan has the best timing to implement his expansionistic plans and according to the above the best choice to do that is violating the western borders.
When would make his move? Erdogan is unpredictable and this is a common truth, but the abovementioned junctures that are in favor of him will be in effect for a few months, so the next four months are crucial for Greece’s defense system.
How would a military episode take place? It would be fast and it would be an invasion in a Greek island near the Turkish coast. Preferably this island would be small without any Greek military staff or base on it and at the same time it should be in the EGAYDAAK list of islands that Turkey disputes the Greece’s sovereignty over them in order to adhere to his own concept of Just War. According to the Turkish military tactics, there would be firstly a probable incident between Turkish and Greek sea borders regarding migrants rescue operation in “disputed waters” which would escalate to a serious incident between the two countries and would be used from Turkey as a feint in order to invade in a distant enough from the area where the incident would take place, Greek island.
The truth is that the next four months are very crucial for the future of the eastern Mediterranean and depends on the way that Russia, Germany and France will manage a possible crisis the very first minutes of it.