A leaked high-level Turkish military document has revealed the existence of secret Turkish plans to invade Greece and Armenia. The plan for an invasion of Greece is particularly baffling considering that both countries are members of the NATO alliance, and allegedly allies, but unsurprising given an escalation in Turkey’s provocative moves against its European neighbor recently.
The documents were revealed and republished in a report by Nordic Monitor. The document, which is a PowerPoint presentation that had been prepared for the Turkish General Staff, was discovered in a file that was used in a court case stemming from an investigation into the role of the General Staff in the failed coup against Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that was attempted in July 2016. Some elements of the Turkish Armed Forces participated in the coup.
Serdar Coşkun, the Prosecutor who was assigned to the investigation, ordered all of the e-mails exchanged between officers at Turkey’s General Staff headquarters from the previous two months to be collected for the investigation in August 2016. Three officers ended up being indicted, and the e-mails were turned over to Ankara’s 17th High Criminal Court as part of the indictment. This presentation was one of the documents that was forwarded.
The presentation bears the date of June 13, 2014 and has the name “Turkish Armed Forces Çaka Bey Operation Planning Directive.” It lists planned offensives against Greece, plus the dates when they were first developed. The document does not contain any details of the invasion plans, however, given that these are marked classified and, under Turkish military procedures, cannot be transmitted by e-mail for security reasons. But it does confirm the existence of Turkey’s invasion plans.
Çaka Bey was an eleventh-century Turkish naval commander who conquered several of Greece’s islands in the Aegean Sea as well as some of the Greek mainland’s territory along the Aegean coast during the era of the Byzantine Empire. Çaka Bey is seen as a national hero in Turkey and is considered the founder of the Turkish navy.
It appears that the presentation was drawn up as part of a contingency plan that was being developed in regard to the Syrian War. The Turkish General Staff was planning to move forces to the Syrian border at the time and wanted to ensure that this wouldn’t jeopardize their ability to launch offensives against their other neighbors, such as Greece.
Also included in the leak is a letter written by Lieutenant General Uğur Tarçın, Chief of General Staff Communications, in March 2017 in which he warned the General Staff’s legal department that the correspondence that had been forwarded for the investigation included classified documents pertaining to national security which should not be shared with unauthorised personnel. This indicates that the General Staff was keen to ensure that the existence of the invasion plans did not reach the outside world. Turkish prosecutors appear to have ignored their warnings, however.
The document also references Operation Altay, which is a plan for an offensive against Armenia, which was already known.
Turkey has long had an antagonistic relationship with Greece, and it has been deteriorating even further as of late. In February, Erdogan unleashed a new wave of illegal migrants upon the Greek border which led to nightly battles between migrants — often supported by the Turkish police — and Greek security forces, reinforced by personnel from several other European Union member states. But the Turkish Armed Forces have also been making provocative moves by violating Greece’s territorial waters and sending fighter aircraft into its airspace. Turkish ground forces have also fired weapons into Greek territory along the border, and Turkish soldiers have even invaded and seized a patch of Greek land in the Evros region, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.
How NATO will react if two of its members go to all-out war remains to be seen.
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