In anticipation of a crisis in September, when Turkey says it plans to begin drilling on Greece’s continental shelf, Athens has devised four deterrence plans while at the same time attempting to keep channels of communication open with Ankara, the Greek Kathimerini daily reported.
The first scenario envisions that if a Turkish research vessel is dispatched with an escort of Turkish frigates but does not immediately proceed with exploratory activities, a similar number of Greek vessels will be sent to the area and will remain there for as long as Turkey’s do.
The second scenario foresees that in the event that a research vessel lays down cables for seismic surveys, the Greek side will use wireless means to intervene. Otherwise, the cables should be cut or prevented from reaching the seabed.
The third scenario, which is deemed the least likely, concerns the possibility of Turkey sending a floating drill rig. In this case, the instructions are clear that the drill should never touch the seabed, with all that entails. Given the size of the three Turkish Petroleum Corporation drillships, it would be impossible for the Greek frigates to prevent this.
In this case the use of warning shots to prevent drilling has not been ruled out.
The fourth scenario concerns a combined mission of Turkish research ships on different parts of the Greek continental shelf. Again, the instructions to prevent surveying or drilling at any point from Rhodes to Crete are clear.
This last scenario, although not considered the most likely, is being increasingly assessed, especially after the recent air and naval Turkish presence in the region from southern Crete to Libya.
Greece, along with European countries, the US, Cyprus and Egypt, has long opposed Turkey’s drilling activities in the east Mediterranean, calling them “illegal.”