Everything points to the fact that the next few months will be crucial for Greece’s national interests.
Greek-Turkish relations have entered a danger zone, especially after the last incident near the Imia islets, and the unwarranted – possibly planned – incident in which two Greek army officers were taken captive in the Evros border region.
This is all the more true when we consider the fact that, during the summer months, exploration for large gas deposits in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the southeastern Mediterranean will have gained momentum.
The recently heightened air and sea military activity, and the hostile official rhetoric from Ankara, all demonstrate the danger.
By all appearances, Turkish demands in the Aegean and Cyprus will grow stronger. American and European diplomacy have warned about this.
Turkey will pursue its agenda with provocations and aggressive action, which international observers believe may lead to a military incident of unforeseeable proportions.
The above assessment is further bolstered by the domestic situation in Turkey. Ankara is confronted by internal divisions which, as is its habit, it attempts to export.
Greece’s political leadership, both the government and the main opposition party, no longer have the luxury of laxity.
Greece was and remains a peace-loving country. It does not invest in tensions, nor does it have an aggressive posture towards its neighbours.
Yet, Athens is not naïve. It is aware of the ongoing geopolitical upheavals and games. It has bitter experience from the aggressiveness of its neighbours and it is obliged to prepare in a timely manner, taking into account all possible eventualities.
The government must take the initiative, with the cooperation of the opposition, in order to ensure a minimum national understanding, and thereby forge a unified national front, to respond to any conceivable threat.
The proposed National Security Council should be established immediately. At the same time, the authority of the Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defence must be upgraded.
It is necessary to evaluate immediately the capabilities of the Armed Force, and to re-evaluate the country’s defence structure, with an eye to identifying any deficiencies and remedying them immediately.
Greece over the last years lost the certainty of stable and unhindered economic growth and prosperity.
It has taken nearly a decade of constant sacrifices to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, the certainty of the country’s national security, and of long-term peace, has been called into question.
Combined challenges may lead to a national disaster, vigilance is imperative.
The country must at long last act with a unified national line, and political leaders must cooperate without any reservations.
Time is of the essence.