Germany’s top diplomat has urged Turkey and Greece to get to the table as both announce military exercises close to each other on the sea.
“The current situation in the eastern Mediterranean is equivalent to playing with fire,” Heiko Maas said in Athens. “Every little spark can lead to catastrophe.”
“Athens on Monday issued an advisory to ships (Navtex) that its air and naval forces would conduct joint exercises in an area that overlaps with the one reserved by Ankara in a similar advisory issued on Sunday,” a Greek paper said.
“We have shown those trying to prevent us in the Eastern Mediterranean that we will claim our rights even if this means using force when necessary,” Turkey’s Erdogan said after adding Greece would be responsible for any “negative developments.”
The two armies are now to exercise in the same area between Cyprus and Crete with this being the latest escalation after a Turkish exploration ship had its mandate extended beyond past Sunday in the disputed area.
A German ship is in the area too, an American one, French jets, British bases are close there, all of Nato basically with both Greece and Turkey part of Nato.
Last time there was an escalation some decades ago, an American ship went between the two to effectively physically prevent them from fighting.
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Josef Maas, is effectively doing the same in a way by currently being in Athens with plans to then go to Turkey.
While he is around you’d think neither Turkey nor Greece would want to risk anything, with these two sides engaging in a tit for tat for some time now.
It began with Greece, Israel, and other regional countries dividing the sea between themselves without including Turkey.
Turkey’s response was to get an agreement on how to share the sea with Libya. The situation then calmed a bit as there were hopes of talks, but Greece signed an agreement with Egypt which Turkey saw as Greece not having much intention to talk.
So they sent this exploration ship, which prior to this Greek-Egypt agreement was on hold, with Greece not doing much but now that they’ve extended it, they’re escalating.
Russia is probably loving all this, with European Union members put in a tough spot because Italy and Spain seem to be more sympathetic to Turkey presumably because they have their own sea sharing interests.
Macron has decided to back Greece with some Franko-Turkish rivalry seemingly developing as France stands with Russia on some areas.
Heiko Maas for his part said Germany stands with Greece, but in reality this is probably a big headache for Germany and much of Europe with Maas primarily emphasizing de-escalation and getting to some table to hold talks.
Some suggest these maneuvers are an attempt by both sides to get an upper hand at that negotiating table, but with two armies so close, things can easily go very wrong.
There was a clash already about a week or two ago when Turkish and Greek military ships collided, with the media on both sides then arguing their country won. Holistically, it may be the Turkish one came out slightly better.
Turkey is a vastly bigger country than Greece and it has a significantly bigger army, with it previously ruling Greece for about half a millenium.
Turkey is no where near the Ottoman heydays however, while Greece is very much in debt, with this potential discovery of resources in the sea being absolutely great news for both.
Therefore you’d expect celebration and even a new era as Erdogan said, for both Europe and Turkey. Instead they fighting because there aren’t enough problems already.
The Greek economy for example has been barely growing, and now is contracting, with its GDP down by nearly a third from $290 billion in 2010 to now $209 billion.
The Turkish one was growing prior to the global contraction, but it’s no where near where it could be.
For both, these natural resources could provide a boom, and therefore you’d expect both to be very keen to resolve any dispute and get on with work.
Why they have failed to do so is a question to which Maas hopefully gets an answer because there should not be any such wrangling in our very Europe for this tension only serves Europe’s rivals who are probably having a field day watching all this.
Uncertainty moreover is not very good for markets at a time when much investment and economic activity is needed to avoid any potential structural problems.
But obviously everything is good for bitcoin especially as the value of the Turkish lira has been falling with trading volumes rising in BTCTurk.
However, trading volumes have been rising everywhere following the halvening with bitcoin being a curios asset as it’s a speculative hard asset.
Therefore if they get a deal, that would be good for the economy of both countries and thus the citizens of both countries may have more money to invest in speculating bitcoin.
If it turns for the worst, then the hard asset part might be more appealing for both Turks and Greeks, with a bigger question being which way does the Turkish lira plan to go.
It’s been further weakening against the dollar, making both bitcoin and gold appealing for Turks, but all fiat money is weakening, sending gold to all time high and bitcoin to near $12,000.