Greek concerns over regional impact of Syria strikes, Turkey’s role

The involvement of Turkey in the conflict can only complicate matters for Athens, which has its own concerns about Turkish provocations in the Aegean and about the prospect of Ankara exporting to Greece its problems on other fronts.

With US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin preparing for strikes in Syria, with Moscow vowing to intercept the smart missiles that Trump said he will use against Assad, Greece is viewing the situation with an extremely wary eye.

Athens sees that an escalation of the confrontation in Syria, with direct US-Russia engagement, can only further destabilise a volatile situation, with serious ramifications for Cyprus and the entire eastern Mediterranean, as well as Greece.

The involvement of Turkey in the conflict, with Ankara clearly choosing to side with Putin, can only complicate matters for Greece, which has its own concerns about Turkish provocations in the Aegean and about the prospect of Ankara exporting to Greece its problems on other fronts.

On the other hand, some analysts in Athens believe that the massive presence of American and Russian forces in the Mediterranean may act as a shield against more serious Turkish provocations and a full-fledged military clash.

At the same time, the belief is that Erdogan is upgrading his role amidst the turmoil, as it has troops on the ground and is siding with Russia, despite Moscow propping up Assad, whom Ankara is eager to topple.

US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Syrian crisis by telephone yesterday and agreed to remain in close touch.

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