Rumors and Threats of Wars

In the past SIX (6) days, increasing Rumours and Threats of Wars in ‘Diverse Places’; Aegean angst: Greece and Turkey’s dangerous Eastern Mediterranean game. Greek-Turkish rivalries have expanded into regional tensions.

Matthew 24:6-8 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Mark 13:7-8 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

In the past SIX (6) days, increasing Rumours and Threats of Wars in ‘Diverse Places’; Aegean angst: Greece and Turkey’s dangerous Eastern Mediterranean game. Greek-Turkish rivalries have expanded into regional tensions.

Date of publication: 11 September, 2020 The New Arab

From fierce post-World War One fighting in the 1920s to the Cyprus dispute that erupted in the 1970s, the Aegean Sea has always been a source of contention between Greece and Turkey.

Today, it has once again returned to the top of international headlines, with demagogic speeches in both Athens and Ankara reviving a long-standing conflict between both countries.

However, grafted on to this historical rivalry is a much more complicated set of energy and geopolitical concerns, with the battleground in the Eastern Mediterranean extending far beyond the borders of both countries.

The spark for recent tensions was the signing of a memorandum between Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya in December 2019, which consisted of two axes. The first was the redrawing of maritime borders between Ankara and Libya, which the Greek government considered a threat. 

The second, and boldest, part of the pact was an understanding on security and military cooperation which allowed Turkey to militarily intervene in the country’s war to support the GNA, bringing with it a set of hostilities from France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt.

As a result, Athens looked for a way to prevent Turkey from expanding its influence in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the Greek prime minister’s visit to Paris earlier this year marking a distinct turning point in Greek foreign policy.

The meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis crystallised new political and military relations between Paris and Athens, which the French president called a “framework of strategic defence”.

The French side promised to support Athens’ position against Ankara regarding the maritime border issue and the Cyprus dispute, and Athens, in return, agreed to coordinate its foreign and military policy in cooperation with Paris.

Two days after the meeting, Paris dispatched warships to Greek shores to demonstrate the French government’s support of a European ally against Turkey, marking the first escalation by Athens against Ankara.

It was, however, actually a French escalation with a Greek face, and was a key reason for escalating regional tensions that have culminated in today’s extreme rhetoric on both sides. 

Geopolitical standpoints

In the current conflict, each side is trying to impose its point of view beyond the realms of international law, or in some cases by building new international relations. The Greek side relies on two elements.

Firstly, it uses its EU membership to put economic pressure on Ankara. Athens is also taking advantage of its stance during the migrant border crisis with Turkey, the so-called ‘Evros crisis’, when Greece presented itself as a shield for Europe against immigrants and refugees, demanding that the EU imposes economic sanctions on Ankara, whose economy is already suffering.

The second element of Athens’ posturing is as a front for Ankara’s common enemies. The Greek government today presents itself as a bulwark against the Turkish administration and a conduit for those who want to send messages of pressure and threats against it.

On the other hand, Turkey understands the EU’s economic need for the Turkish market. In recent years, Turkey, far from discussing its EU membership, which is essentially brain dead, has managed to build high-level bilateral relations with EU countries like Italy, Spain, Malta and others.

These relations constitute protection for Ankara in any Greek movement within the EU. Ankara knows that the Greek side is not keen on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is unlikely to adopt the full Greek vision for its share in the Eastern Mediterranean.

But while Politicians from both countries are calculating their stances based on the manoeuvre room available to them, the big player in Washington could well have the last word.

In the White House, ambiguity still prevails about the actual US position on tensions between Ankara and Athens, with a cordial relationship developing in recent months between President Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan as interests have aligned over Libya, Syria and international terrorism.

However, the upcoming presidential election and Trump’s personal need for international support from countries such as the UAE and Israel could be a reason for the White House to lean towards Athens’s stance against Ankara. Washington’s decision earlier this month to lift the partial arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus could be interpreted as a step along this path.  

Conflict limits

The Turkish government is not interested in any kind of escalation, especially with Greece. Ankara needs to end the Libyan conflict as soon as possible and reap its military victories at the negotiating table. This is its top priority in the current moment.

Meanwhile, the new discovery of a Black Sea gas field by Turkish ships has boosted the confidence of the Turkish administration, which was translated diplomatically into Ankara’s approval for all German ceasefire initiatives in Libya as well as sitting at the negotiating table with Athens, following the initiative of NATO’s Secretary General, to prevent any military conflict between the two neighbours.

As for Greece, the choice of Athens publicly and secretly is escalation, which can be analysed around three elements. The first is that current economic conditions in the country due to Covid-19 are leading to a deep recession, with a second quarter economic contraction of 15.2 percent.

The government wants to shift the attention of the Greek public by warming the waters of the Aegean Sea. The second aspect is that of making partisan gains using hate speech and escalating tensions with Ankara, presenting them as victories to increase support for the ruling right-wing party and boost its chances in the next elections.

Finally, Athens believes that the support provided by Ankara’s enemies could increase possible concessions by Turkey in future negotiations, and the possibility of the Democrats arriving in the White House will favour Athens’ fate.

Some may see the NATO-brokered military talks on Thursday as a start to breaking the ice and reducing tensions. However, the current reality of the Eastern Mediterranean scene is no longer a Greek-Turkish conflict. Rather, it is a conflict between the interests of a rising regional country, Turkey, and countries that see this rise as dangerous for their own influence and plans in the region. 

In this respect, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is now linked to the future of the Libyan war. Actions on both sides of the Aegean Sea are akin to dancing on the cliff-edge and any miscalculation or overconfidence could lead the region into a bloody war in which there is no winner.

Athens must put its interests and the security of its people above French promises, and Turkey must not fall into the traps of militarism and escalation.

Eva J. Koulouriotis is a political analyst specialising in the Middle East

In His Service,

Night Watchman

Paul Rolland

Night Watchman Ministries

Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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