Tensions in Eastern Mediterranean - Ercan Emre Çelik

France augments its military presence in Eastern Mediterranean as a show of support to Athens amid Turkish efforts in the region. French Minister of Defence Florence Parly gave an interview to the Greek press on Sunday, signaling increased defense cooperation between France and Greece.

“France intends to stand by Greece and help it to confront multiple tensions in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean,” the French minister said to Vima newspaper in the interview. Previously, France made several remarks in favor of Greece for the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, but this is the first time such a statement is given by a senior cabinet member, the minister of defense. And secondly, Defence Minister Parly also included the region of Aegean in her speech when meaning to assist Greece.

Her comments continued with remarks to deliver France’s political and partly military support to both Greece and the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus for their efforts to defend their alleged maritime zones and claims, calling Turkey to refrain from lacking respect.

The interview coincides at a time when the flagship of the French Navy, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle reaches the region to exercise with the Greek Navy. The ship is escorted by a Greek frigate at the moment and is operating on the alleged exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus.

But we can expect that Charles de Gaulle’s presence in the region concerning the EEZs on the area would not last much because, as we had explained in detail on the 3rd issue of our Operation Mediterranean Shield series the presence of this ship in the region would primarily focus on counter-terrorism operations. President Macron announced that the Charles De Gaulle’s activity in the area which just got back from concentrated operations in the Sahel region is to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations to target Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Chammal and at the end of April the ship will be deployed to the Atlantic Ocean.

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