Turkey pushed to sidelines as Greece, Israel expand ties – analyst

A burgeoning alliance between Greece and Israel is increasingly pushing Turkey to the sidelines in the region while allowing Athens and Tel Aviv to gain financial and geopolitical advantages, wrote political and foreign affairs commentator Micah Halpern.

The two countries have signed a series of mutual defence agreements, including weapons, training and services, in a development lauded by Athens as strengthening "a pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean," Halper wrote in U.S. news site News Max on Monday.

Greek Parliament on Tuesday ratified an agreement that enables Israel to host Greek military forces in its territory or station Israeli military forces in the territory of Greece.

Tensions have been soaring between Ankara and Athens over territorial waters in the Aegean and Mediterranean. Turkey has sent ships to drill for gas off Cyprus to press its claim to the waters there.

Meanwhile, relations between Israel and Turkey have steadily cooled since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became prime minister in 2003 and hit an all time low in 2010, when Israeli forces stormed the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-owned vessel that was part of a flotilla seeking to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza by delivering aid and humanitarian support.

"Over these past few years, Turkey has turned into an irresponsible party in the region,’’ by consistently lashing out at the West, particularly at the United States and Israel, the commentator said, while "siding with arch enemies of the West especially Russia and Iran.’’

Tel Aviv and Washington are searching for ways to punish Ankara over its arrogance and anti-Western behaviour, Halper wrote, an alignment that Athens is happy to be a part of.

"Greece is on a roll,’’ the analyst said, and will be rewarded with further expansions and economic adventure while Ankara will be increasingly pushed to the sidelines.