The dispute in the Aegean deals with the continental shelf. Contrary to international law, Turkey claims that islands do not have their own continental shelf, and that the Aegean Sea should be split in the middle. That would put many Greek islands in the Turkish part of the sea, a prospect that cannot be expected to be acceptable to the Greeks.
The latest crisis was precipitated by Turkey and not by Greece. In fact, the Greek government tried to avert a crisis. When the international consortium exploiting the oil fields off the Greek island of Thasos announced its intention of drilling in waters disputed by Turkey, the Greek government proclaimed the nationalization of the oil company, so it could control the time and place where drilling would occur. However, the Turks seized this opportunity to take new aggressive action against Greece. The Turkish government announced a proposed exploration in waters over the Greek continental shelf. Greece had to defend its boundaries and sovereignty.
As for the temporary closing of the NATO base at Nea Makri, that base tracks the movements of ships in the Aegean. With a naval confrontation with Turkey imminent, obvious security reasons required Greek control of that base. The base has now been reopened.
Turkey is the international outlaw that invaded the independent republic at Cyprus in 1974 and still illegally occupies 40% of the predominantly Greek-populated island. The U.S. government, along with all the governments in the world, except Turkey, recognizes only the Cypriot government of President Spyros Kyprianou, and not the puppet administration of warlord Raouf Denktash in the occupied area. The latter is only a self-proclaimed "president" because of the presence of 30,000 Turkish troops, controlling a population of 120,000. Turkey is in violation of several U.N. resolutions, approved by the United States, which demand the removal of the Turkish occupiers.
The United States has not been neutral, as you claim in your editorial, between Greece and Turkey. The "tilt" of the U.S. Defense and State Departments toward Turkey is notorious. Turkey, despite its internal instability and its atrocious record of human rights violations, has received enormous amounts of American military aid. This vain effort to repeat the ill-fated Iranian experiment of creating a "regional policeman" will inevitably fail.
The Turks, like their Khomeini counterparts of Iran, will take anything the gullible Yanks are willing to hand over, but they have no intention of serving the American national interests. Their goal is to reconstitute as much as they can of the disbanded Ottoman Empire. Turkish expansionism creates the inevitability of war in the eastern Mediterranean, and only a fool can claim that such a conflict serves our national interest.
Anagnos is vice president of the Hellenic American Council of Southern California.