The aerial bombardment of the Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya is a turning point in the geopolitical game in the eastern Mediterranean. Not so much because the anti-aircraft systems fielded there by Turkey were destroyed, but rather because Erdogan is being paid in kind by his opponents.
More specifically, it is well known that Turkey using the military as its instrument, during the last few years, to promote its expansionist visions. It did so in Syria. It did so in Libya. It used naval units in order to conduct its illegal drilling activities within Cyprus’ EEZ. The same will happen, if it goes ahead with its declared intention to conduct research just outside Greek territorial waters in the arc Kastellorizo – Rhodes – Crete.
Up to now, Turkey’s opponents limited themselves to diplomatic responses. This gave Ankara a tactical advantage. It could score points and create faits accomplis, allowing it, on a diplomatic level, to be in an advantageous position.
However, all things have a limit. This was very clearly shown through the bombardment of the Al-Watiya air base. Who the aircraft that flew the mission belonged to is not of great significance. What is significant is that the Turks suffered a military attack. It is exactly this incident that differentiates things from what was the norm in the past.
The crucial question after this attack is how will Erdogan react. For the time being what we know is that Turkey will insist on conducting, along with the Sarraj government the attack against the Sirte – Jufra axis.
Essentially, Turkey will seek to cross the “red line” as drawn both by the Egyptian government and Russia. We could say that the same applies for France, which would not like to see Libya ending up as a Turkish protectorate.
Therefore, for the very first time, Erdogan is being faced with the very real prospect of finding himself facing three powers, all of which are beyond his means, especially so, if they act in concert. To these we must add the United Arab Emirates, which seem to be implicated in the aerial attack, as well as Saudi Arabia.
Developments on the Libyan front directly concern Greece. In fact, I would say they are of vital importance for Greek national interests, since what happens in the Greek – Turkish front will depend on developments in Libya. If Erdogan flops in Libya, it will be very difficult for him to realize a provocation, like the one he’s announced in Kastellorizo – Rhodes – Crete arc. And this because to his already numerous and powerful foes he will add Greece which so far has moved only along the diplomatic front.