Macron stands by Athens – with gunboats

Turkey’s aggressive action in the eastern Mediterranean is now also alarming France. President Macron has announced an increased military presence of his country in the region.

It is a “dangerous escalation”, writes “Libération”. France has already sent two “Rafale” fighter planes to Cyprus. Navy ships are to follow in the next few days. It is the classic gunboat policy, behind which there are also economic interests.

For not only Turkey and Greece want to exploit the presumed mineral resources in the Mediterranean. The French energy company Total also has its fingers in the pie. The crisis is also being fuelled by the fall of the Turkish lira and the crash of the economy.

It is unclear whether the French initiative has been agreed with the German EU presidency. Macron said he welcomed the German mediation efforts, which probably averted a war at the end of July. Is he playing the “bad cop” while Chancellor Merkel is the “good cop”?

I think it’s more complicated than that. Germany also has massive economic and political interests in the region. Merkel wants to prevent a repeat of the refugee crisis in 2015, supply armaments to Turkey and otherwise secure good German business.

So we are dealing with antagonistic interests here. Normally this would be a case for the EU – it was founded to solve such problems. But Germany, which holds the EU presidency, wants to keep the ball low and prefers to treat the problem bilaterally.

So I don’t expect much from the crisis meeting of EU foreign ministers on Friday. In any case, it is only a video conference without decision-making powers. If anything, only the USA can solve the crisis – Athens is already in contact with Washington…

See also Aggressive Turkey: Just past the war?