December 7, 2011

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Greek Airforce Finally Shelters Kastelorizo Island

The area around Kastelorizo island, in terms of national policy, as well as exercising Greece's rights in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (next to Cyprus' EEZ), was for years regarded as a no-fly zone by Greek air fighters. The reason is simple, Athens followed the theory that an intensified presence of the Greek armed forces in this area would become a "magnet" for Turkish planes. The island, as we all know, is of significant economic importance to Greece and Cyprus' since the island's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) bridges the EEZ of Cyprus to that of Rhodes, thereby creating a unified Grecian-Cypriotic EEZ.

This region has also become  geo-strategically important due to the huge hydrocarbon gas reserves found there and thus follows specific defense planning.

The same tactic was used by Turkey, but following a provocation of Turkish RF-4E fighters, which apparently flew only 300 meters above the island, this is beginning to change.The area now is at high risk, said a report on defencenet.

So what do the terms "change of strategy" actually mean, and how do these affect us?

Basically, the new line of strategy involves frequent visits by Greek fighters. Also, the F-16 Block 52 + airforce which is based on Crete is on alert 24 hours a day for possible threats against Kastelorizo and according to the same article the minute Turkish planes are detected in the area Greek fighters are on the go before the Turkish planes even reach the island.

This new tactic, on the part of Greece, is a result of a wider defense plan, which also includes new electronic monitoring systems that are now operating in the wider region and that follow Turkish communications systems at all times. The Greek Armed Forces is also getting set to transfer and set up a similar monitoring system on the island as well which presently only hosts a MANPAD Stinger.

Greek officials know that it is difficult to block all the provocations, but at least with this new strategy they will give Turkish fighters a run for their money.

The same cannot be said about the Greek Army, because as it is very well known, the Turkish side outnumbers the Greek. Also, military officials cannot forecast whether an attack can occur near the Turkish boarder in Thrace, or on some Aegean island. However, they are certain about one thing though, that Ankara will surely attempt an attack on Kastelorizo because the Turks want to "finish" with this island in their plans to conquer our territorial waters, break Greece's bridges with the EEZ of Cyprus and join its illegal EEZ with that of Egypt.

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