Greece and the United Arab Emirates have signed a defence settlement that might have strategic ramifications for Turkey given these nations’ mutual opposition to its overseas coverage.
This strategic partnership, based on UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, goals to “enhance political, economic and cultural cooperation” between the 2 nations. The navy side of the partnership is especially noteworthy because it compels every nation to come to assistance from the opposite if their territorial integrity comes beneath risk.
Greece strongly opposes Turkey’s drilling for pure gasoline inside Cyprus’ unique financial zone (EEZ), its institution of an unlimited EEZ with Libya and its tried drilling in disputed waters within the Aegean Sea. The UAE is locked in a region-wide chilly conflict with Turkey and helps Greece in its territorial disputes.
How substantive their emergent pact will turn out to be has but to be seen at this early stage.
“At the moment Greek Emirati ties are mostly symbolic,” Ryan Bohl, the Center East and North Africa analyst for Stratfor, a RANE firm, instructed Ahval. “Essentially the most tangible achieve for either side is that they’re each showing to embrace the multilateralism that the USA is now poised to begin favouring once more with the Biden administration.”
In Bohl’s view, the creation of a multilateral anti-Turkish bloc, even one within the “symbolic diplomatic sphere,” will present each the incoming Biden administration and the European Union “with alternative frameworks to try to counter Turkish behaviour that is seen as destabilising”.
“However, Turkey remaining a NATO member state means that the military value of such agreements are minimal,” he stated.
George Tzogopoulos, a senior fellow on the Centre Worldwide de Formation Européenne and analysis affiliate on the Start Sadat Centre for Strategic Research (BESA), famous that Greece’s overseas coverage is grounded in “good relations with regional actors and schemes of regional cooperation”.
“The cooperation with the UAE has flourished in the last year, especially because the UAE has criticised the Turkish-Libyan MoU (memorandum of understanding) on maritime zones,” Tzogopoulos instructed Ahval, referring to the joint assertion issued by Greece, Cyprus, France, Egypt, and the UAE again in May.
“Also, both sides supported General Khalifa Haftar in the Libyan civil war,” he stated. “The training of Greek and Emirati F-16 fighters – with Crete as their base – last August is indicative of solidarity.”
Whereas Tzogopoulos believes it’s constructive that Greece’s overseas coverage is multidimensional, he pressured that this can’t remedy Greece’s ongoing maritime disputes with Turkey. Consequently, he believes that Greece ought to undertake the diplomatic initiative of starting dialogue with the purpose of delimiting the continental shelf.
“Without a solution to this problem, tensions will be continuously on the rise in the eastern Mediterranean,” he stated, including that the October Particular EU council clarifies that Greek-Turkish dialogue and exploratory talks will solely cowl maritime zones.
“So, Athens needs to benefit and define itself diplomatic developments,” he added. “Even the East Mediterranean Gas Forum can become more inclusive – on the initiative of Greece – should Turkey respect the rules set by the majority.”
Analysts on the Ankara-based BlueMelange, an impartial analysis group of Turkish Defence Information, consider this newest pact is “much more complex” than the Israel-Greece-Cyprus tripartite defence and safety settlement reached in September.
“According to our analysis, this deal may pave the way for some important arms sales and purchase contracts next year,” they instructed Ahval.
Greece is presently in search of to improve its navy arsenal, significantly its warships and older fighter jets. BlueMelange anticipates the UAE sponsoring a few of these upgrades.
Lockheed Martin is already upgrading many of the Hellenic Air Forces’ F-16 fleet. In accordance with Lockheed, when these upgrades are full, Greece will function essentially the most superior F-16s in Europe. The U.S. Congress has blocked upgrades for Turkey’s F-16 fleet since mid-2018.
Greece can be shopping for further superior plane. France has agreed to promote it 18 formidable 4.5 era Dassault Rafale multirole fighters – 12 of that are ex-French Air Power whereas the opposite six can be model new. Greece can be requesting fifth-generation stealthy F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the USA. Athens needs a hastened supply of those subtle fifth-generation warplanes because it expressed its willingness to purchase second-hand variations.
Turkey, however, was suspended from the F-35 program final yr for buying Russian S-400 air defence missiles.
The UAE, which already operates essentially the most superior variant of the F-16 on the earth, can be presently in search of to acquire 50 F-35s and 18 armed Reaper drones from the USA.
The BlueMelange analysts identified that the UAE additionally operates a large fleet of French-built Dassault Mirage 2000-9 multirole fighters which can be similar to the Hellenic Air Power’s fleet of Mirage 2000-5s. The Emirati Mirages are presently being modernised beneath a $929 million deal signed again in November 2019 that can see them geared up with extra subtle French weapons and electronics. BlueMelange predicts the UAE will switch them to Greece if and when it acquires the 50 F-35s it ordered from the U.S.
“The most obvious candidate for future ex-UAE Mirage 2000-9s is, of course, Greece,” they stated.
The analysts additionally predict that beneath this new settlement, Greece may signal new contracts to equip its F-16 and Mirage 2000 fleets with weapons equipped by the UAE earlier than taking supply of F-35s and Rafales.
“At the end, we at BlueMelange, predict strong defence cooperation between Greece and Turkey consisting of expeditionary deployments of UAE fighter jets to Crete and defence contracts for the supply of Emirati weapons to the Hellenic Air Force,” they stated.
“On the other hand, we also forecast that UAE will transfer its entire, and very modernised, deadly Mirage 2000-9 fleet to Greece.”
General, the analysts consider the “core” of this new Greece-UAE settlement “is based on French geopolitics, U.S. approval, and opposition to Turkish expansion.”
“This win-win alliance is only part of a huge anti-Turkish pact, unfortunately,” they stated.