Greece and France will conduct a major air and naval exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming days. According to reliable information, this was decided in the telephone communication that the Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos had with the French counterpart of Florence Parley. It is unclear at this time whether the Republic of Cyprus will participate in the exercise.
This joint exercise was not planned and was essentially decided as a warning message to Turkey. The response from Paris followed the statement in support of Greece by President Macron himself, which, in fact, he made in Greek.
It is worth noting that Paris has been annoyed by Athens’ stance lately. It considered that the Mitsotakis government interrupted or froze the negotiations for the purchase of the latest technology Belharra frigate, which would be accompanied by a from a defense assistance agreement, according to some information, in the event of a Greek-Turkish conflict.
Mitsotakis’ telephone conversation with President Macron, in combination with the active communication of the Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos with his French counterpart, are aimed at closing the rift that had been created recently in Greek-French relations. And apparently this has happened.
The result of the communication was the direct warning of the French President to Turkey to stop its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the announcement that France will strengthen its military presence in our region. It should be noted that Mitsotakis hurried to thank Macron.
The rift with France closes
This brings back to the fore the possibility of the formation of a Mediterranean alliance with a leading role for France and with the participation of Greece and Egypt, but also with the indirect but clear assistance of Israel. It is considered a given that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will rush to join this alliance, due to their anti-Turkish stance and their positions on Libya.
It is obvious that such a Mediterranean alliance will have an informal but clearly anti-Turkish nature and is intended to nullify Erdogan’s attempt to turn the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean into a “Turkish lake”. Seeing the partial withdrawal of the Americans from the region, France is determined to fill this gap, cutting off the path of Turkey, which would like this role for itself.
It is clear that the Cairo Agreement, and especially the escalation that Erdogan attempted in response, set in motion diplomatic processes, which seem to have the preconditions to reach very concrete results. Obviously, no one can discount the outcome, but the circumstances, in fact the convergence of interests of Greece, France and Egypt, are pushing things in this direction.