Asleep for almost a century, the notorious roar of the Ottoman lion from the past is being heard again as Turkey grows in military might and with it a desire to impress herself on the world. In a recent story from AP News, Turkish President Erdogan has made direct threats to Greece over her claims to oil and gas resources off of Mediterranean islands, and is threatening to use military force to enforce her claims.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned Greece to enter talks over disputed eastern Mediterranean territorial claims or face the consequences.
“They’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences,” he said at a hospital’s opening ceremony in Istanbul.
Ankara is currently facing off against Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. All sides have deployed naval and air forces to assert their competing claims in the region.
“They are going to understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military power to tear up the immoral maps and documents imposed,” Erdogan added, referring to areas marked by Greece and Cyprus as their economic maritime zones.
He stressed that Turkey was “ready for every eventuality and result.”
Meanwhile, Turkish media reported that tanks were being moved towards the Greek border. The Cumhuriyet newspaper said 40 tanks were being transported from the Syrian border to Edirne in northwest Turkey and carried photographs of armored vehicles loaded on trucks.
A military official speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations said the deployment was a regular movement of forces and unconnected to tension with Greece.
The president’s comments come after NATO said military officers from Greece and Turkey had begun technical discussions to reduce the risk of armed conflict or accidents.
The two NATO allies have been locked for weeks in a tense standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf.
Ankara says it has every right to prospect there and accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of maritime resources.
Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots have multiplied over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. A Turkish and a Greek frigate collided last month, reportedly causing minor damage to the Turkish frigate but no injuries.
Erdogan said Turkey had repeatedly expressed its willingness to come to a just agreement.
“Our word is sincere,” he said. “The problem is those before us disregard our rights and try to situate themselves above us.”
Turkey faces a wide range of opponents in the eastern Mediterranean. France, Italy and the United Arab Emirates have all sent forces to join war games with either Greece or Cyprus in recent weeks. Egypt has signed an energy exploration deal with Athens for the Mediterranean.
The European Union, which counts Greece and Cyprus as members, has also threatened possible sanctions against Ankara over its “illegal” actions. (source)
There seems to be an idea among many that Turkey, like Germany, can be ‘controlled’ indefinitely for specific reasons. In the case of Turkey, it was re-arming her into the eighth most powerful military in the world and the second largest in Europe after Russia for the purpose of countering the USSR, and this was done effectively. However, what happens after the USSR is gone?
This is what happened thirty years ago, and now thirty years later, Turkey is morphing back into what she used to be- a dangerous world power that is a threat to all people, including the rest of Europe, and even American interests in the Middle East and abroad. This was inevitable, for Turkey has always been the power of the Middle East since the migration of the Turkic tribes from Central Asia.
Turkey making threats to Greece should not be taken lightly. For centuries, Greece was forcibly ruled by the Ottomans, along with most of the Balkans, and the Turks not only did not care, but still refuse to apologize for the massacres of many Greek Christians in Turkey last century. At least it can be said that Germany apologized for her genocides, where the official policy of Turkey is to continue to “deny and hide”.
If one does not think that Turkey once again will attempt to do what she has done in the past, one may want to re-examine that conclusion, for times change but man’s nature remains the same, and in the case of Turkey, her desires are no different than what they were centuries ago.
This is more than just about oil and gas. This is about the Turkish monster rising once again from the grave after it was destroyed, and while the world does not seem to notice or care, it is little things such as this that matter, because they add up into larger things, until once again the Ottoman Empire is raised, not with horses, swords, archers, and boats, but tanks, machine guns, warplanes, and a navy just like from the past but in a modern context.
The Ottoman Empire is back. It is just that the other nations of the world have not yet acknowledged it yet.