THE “JOINT FRONT” GROWS

26/11/2016



The most recent news from the New AllianceFrance, Southern Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Armenia... These states are the members of an alliance that is yet to be named. They are after a different kind of solution partnership. Turkey is on the target board. It is a very critical, delicate and complicated issue; there is danger ahead.Looking only at the most recent and contiguous developments one can only say “be afraid”. Should five countries suddenly start enjoying closer relations and a complicated axis is formed between them, one should pay attention both to timing and the scale. Deputy Commander of the French Armed Forces Admiral Philippe Combes and Deputy Commander of the Greek Cypriot National Guard Army (GCNGA) Lieutenant General Andreas Petridis signed a defence cooperation programme agreement on the 24th of January 2012. Furthermore during the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Cyprus, a cooperation agreement on search and rescue missions was signed on the 16th of February.On the other hand Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Herato Kozaku Markulli has been in Paris exchanging opinions on the Cyprus issue, bilateral ties, energy and the EU term presidency. This was the most recent contact between members of the joint front.There exists a series of agreements Israel has signed with Southern Cyprus and Greece. In this context, Southern Cyprus lends certain privileges to Israeli warplanes in the Nicosia FIR. It is possible that Israeli jets move within Greek airspace with even greater ease. The point common to all these agreements is the aim of reducing Turkey’s influence in the Mediterranean to nothing.For example, time for negotiation over the Cyprus issue is dwindling and unless a solution is reached until the summer, that is within a few months, the Mediterranean will get very hot indeed when Southern Cyprus takes over the European Union term presidency in June. For some time, Southern Cyprus had based its entire strategy on the failure of peace talks followed by radical decisions regarding Turkey and Northern Cyprus during its term presidency. As time flies by, France and Southern Cyprus have held joint air and sea military manoeuvres. The Fileleftheros newspaper published in Southern Cyprus has reported that the Southern Cypriot Ministry of Defence and the French Navy have been enjoying warm relations in recent years.According to reporting by the TAK agency based on the Cypriot press, the joint search and rescue drill held between the Gulf of Larnaca and the Greco Point on the 5th of March 2012 involved the French frigate Forbin (D 620), as well as the patrol boats Curion and Onisilos (PV 24) and the Achilles Augusta Westland helicopter (CP-8), the Akritas Bell 412 EP helicopter (CP-4) and personnel of the GCNGA and the Civilian Defence Force.For Southern Cyprus there are two critical issues: the Nicosia FIR zone and the Exclusive Economic Zone For the countries involved, the isolation of Turkey and Northern Cyprus in the region is of strategic importance.Southern Cypriot Defence Minister Dimitris Iliadis, speaking after the search and rescue drill, said “in the future joint practice missions between Cypriot and French forces will continue to be held in the framework of agreements between the two countries and agreements with other countries.” This statement contains a barely veiled message.The final and natural link in this ominous chain, Armenia, has also carried out a new move. Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan has said that his country views Israel as a “role model”. According to Sarkisyan Armenia shares many common points with Israel.Previously Greece and Southern Cyprus had been known for their anti-Semitist attitudes. Yet, once Turkey’s relations with Israel soured, they both noticed their sympathies for Israel. Similarly, although Armenia was angry and reactive towards Israel for a long time, it has now adopted it as a role model. Thus it has taken up its expected place within the joint front. Undoubtedly Armenia will make some trade gains as well as financial, military and political advantages as a result of this move. The same was seen in that other popular development of the period, the rapprochement between Greece and Armenia.What will take place this summer? Will there be a development over the Exclusive Economic Zone? Will the European Union Term President Southern Cyprus announce a very tough decision regarding Turkey? Perhaps a provocative development? It is all possible!Let us assume that the solution talks in Cyprus will bear no results. There will be a diplomatic impasse once Southern Cyprus takes over the term presidency in June, for Turkey does not recognise Southern Cyprus. For this reason, all relations between the European Union  and Turkey, not just accession talks, will be blocked.What if tensions with Turkey are increased over the Exclusive Economic Zone, which stands for Southern Cyprus’ takeover of the subterranean wealth of the entire island along with Israel? What if following diplomacy, Ankara is also provoked for over defence?The joint front is essentially initiating a new crusade. In fight for spoils ranging over the geography of victims that stretches from Karabagh to Gaza, they are trying to exclude Turkey from the system and push it to the third world.National economies no longer exist due to globalisation. Around the word all markets and sectors function as one. Mutual interdependence renders the concern over disruption to stability the greatest concern of them all.Under the circumstances taking risks and managing crises becomes very difficult. It is very much possible that the crisis will be mounted with control. Those who can resist pressure for long enough will overcome the economic crisis or will not enter one at all.But what if the crisis grows out of control? For example Syria could cause some hard to predict outcomes in this context. Indeed the joint front might find itself facing a very different political bloc than it has been expecting.
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