Athens keeping close tabs on Ankara’s moves - Kathimerini

Greece is closely monitoring Turkey’s moves in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean and at the Evros land border as Ankara persists in strategy of heightening tensions, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on Sunday.

Turkey has engaged in multiple waves of escalation on land, in the sea and in the air over the last day with Greece’s Defence Ministry and the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) issuing instructions for Greek forces to follow the rules of engagement and withdrawal where necessary, it said. 

Tensions between Turkey and Greece have intensified following an announcement by Ankara in late February that it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach Europe, causing thousands of migrants to amass at the country’s northwestern border with Greece. 

Another source of tension between the two countries is Ankara’s intensified efforts in 2019 to exploit the hydrocarbon reserves in the east Mediterranean by sending two drillships to the waters off Cyprus.

Ankara and Athens also disagree on maritime territories and continental shelf zones in the Aegean. 

There has been constant tension at Evros, which forms a natural boundary with Turkey, especially at the Kastanies-Pazarkule border crossing, after a Greek border guard vehicle came under fire on Wednesday from the Turkish side, Kathimerini said. 

Meanwhile, Hellenic Navy units initially deployed to intercept refugees and migrants from Turkey in the eastern Aegean, have now been moved to Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Symi, leaving the country’s coast guard to take on the task, it said.

Greece’s navy is also keeping close tabs on the large-scale Turkish exercise that began on Friday in the Aegean, the newspaper said.