Socialist Worker

New operation by Turkey ships ratchets up war threats in the Mediterranean

Issue No. 2726

Turkish ships will hold an operation in the waters near to the Greek island of Kastellorizo

Turkish ships will hold an operation in the waters near to the Greek island of Kastellorizo (Pic: Mark Gregory/Flickr)

Tensions between the Turkish and Greek governments were again ratcheted up last week.

The Turkish navy announced that its “fossil fuel research” ships would return to disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean.

The Oruc Reis ship will travel near the Greek island of Kastellorizo as part of its operation.

It will be joined by two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han, and plans to remain in the area for ten days.

Relations between Greece and Turkey were strained in August after the exploration ship entered disputed waters, flanked by warships.

President Erdogan claimed the ship was on a mission to research “seismic activity”—even though Greece lays claim to the waters, which could hold natural gas.

The two states are vying with each other for control.

Greece and its backers—including Israel, Egypt and the European Union (EU)—want a pipeline across the sea controlled by Athens.

They are eager to curtail Turkish military and economic power which has played a decisive role in the war in nearby Syria.

Turkey is keen to flex its muscles in response, with president Erdogan insisting his country will “take what it’s entitled to”.

At a summit earlier in October, the EU threatened to place sanctions on Turkey if it failed to stop what it considered illegal drilling and energy exploration in waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.

Erdogan’s government called the threat “unconstructive.”

The increasing militarisation of this part of the Mediterranean is a danger to all workers.

Unity is the only way to resist the machinations of these powers.

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