The Blue Homeland of Turkey Threatens War Against Greece

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Greek Aegean Sea and Greek islands. Turkish coast, right. NASA.

Prologue

I heard the expression “blue homeland” in the interesting summary of international daily news by a Greek publisher / broadcaster Savvas Kalenterides. This is a former Greek military expert on strategic studies and Turkey. He has become a vigorous and eloquent and knowledgeable critic of Turkey. In addition, he raises profound questions why the Greek government tolerates the offensive and dangerous anti-Greek policies of Turkey.

The new Turkish Sultan

For the last 20 years, the rogue Islamist leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been playing the United States and its NATO dependencies against Russia and Russia against its NATO nemesis. Erdogan is trying to revive the Ottoman empire, which also manipulated the Christian European “great powers,” France, Russia, and England. Erdogan’s “blue homeland” is more than a slogan. In 2019, the Greek government protested that the Turkish policy behind blue homeland threatened half of the Aegean Sea and several large Greek islands. But the ace in Erdogan’s playbook is America’s hatred for Russia. He must have told the State Department / White House that unless he can squeeze the entire Aegean or, at least, half of Eastern Mediterranean out of Greek sovereignty, he will take his country out of NATO and join Russia. The State Department probably gave him the green light, save for not starting a war against Greece.

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Map of Turkey’s “blue homeland.” Map by Cihat Tayci. The map depicts half of the Aegean and half of the Black Sea under Turkish sovereignty. Wikipedia

The “blue homeland” includes half of the Aegean Sea and the largest Greek islands close to the Turkish coast: Samothrace, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, and Rhodes. Claiming this Greek territory is a potential cause for war. With the exception of the islands Imbros and Tenedos, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne ceded to Greece all Aegean islands that were beyond 3 miles from the Asia Minor shores of Turkey. This means, Turkey’s sovereignty in the Aegean does not extend beyond 3 miles from its coast. Therefore, the talk of Erdogan and other Turkish officials about a “blue homeland” is propaganda and violates international law. However, the demand of Turkey for a “blue homeland” is primarily an effort to exploit and loot Greek underwater petroleum and natural gas deposits in the Aegean. The nightmare slogan, “blue homeland,” cooked entirely out of past imperial possessions, highlights an emerging Islamic Turkey full of hubris and megalomania. Erdogan dreams the dreams of a Sultan who reigns over a global power. Ryan Gingeras, an American military professor of strategic studies and history, warned that such ambitions mirror “rough waters ahead.” They will inevitably clash with the strategic interests of Greece, America, and NATO.

America and Turkey undermining Greece

America’s potential conspiracy with Turkey against Greece dates from 1955 when, working in concert with England, justified a vicious Turkish government pogrom against Greek business in Istanbul. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson did the bidding of Turkey, which then demanded half of the Greek island of Cyprus in order to stay in NATO. President Johnson, already fighting the unwinnable Vietnam War, ordered and threatened Greece to withdraw its troops from Cyprus. And to facilitate that shameful move, the US encouraged a military coup in Greece. The military government in Athens withdrew its troops from Cyprus in order to facilitate the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In 1974, the Turks launched an invasion of Cyprus and, fifty years later, in 2024, still occupy about 40 percent of northern Cyprus. It’s this aggression, supported by the United States and England, that fuels the strategic ambitions of Erdogan for a “blue homeland.” The US funded war against Russia through the proxy state of Ukraine came as a godsent to Erdogan. Once again, Christian countries were waging war against each other. Once again, the new Sultan, Erdogan, demanded a pound of flesh. President Joe Biden could not resist his foolish notion that sacrificing Ukraine would defeat or, at the very least, weaken Russia. But Erdogan demanded half of the Greek Aegean Sea. And from the open aggression and propaganda of Turkey against Greece, it is clear Erdogan was rewarded by Biden.

Turkey preparing to attack Greece

Like a business deal, the American-approved hostile actions of Turkey started with a public relations visit of Erdogan to Athens, December 7, 2023, where he and the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, signed the Athens “declaration on good neighborly relations” designed to cover up the deadly tensions between the two NATO “allies.” Mitsotakis returned the favor and, on May 13, 2024, visited Ankara for another meaningless meeting. Erdogan made certain that the fossil fuel wealth in the Aegean would be shared by Turkey and Greece. Meanwhile, the Turkish military has been practicing how to take over the Aegean, the “blue homeland” nightmare of Erdogan and the Turkish establishment.

Moreover, Erdogan made a mosque of the centuries old Orthodox Christian Chora Monastery / Church in Istanbul. One wonders how Mitsotakis could put up with such humiliations: greeting the enemy of his country. Turkey, after all, was responsible for genocides against the Greek population of Turkey. A million Greeks living in Turkey lost their lives in early twentieth century. Even more than those atrocities, the Ottoman Turks oppressed and tyrannized Greece for about 400 years. Besides, Erdogan is planning to grab half of the Aegean from Greece. This is no secret. The Turkish Ministry of Education is teaching millions of children and students about Turkey’s “blue homeland.” NATO countries’ military attaches watch the military exercises of Turkey on how to capture the “blue homeland” in the Aegean. And yet no one is protesting such a potential blatant aggression of one NATO country, Turkey, against another NATO country, Greece. Not only that, but NATO leaders tried to convince Greece to disarm and sent its defensive weapons to Ukraine. This “friendly” hostility is not much different than the US support of the overthrow of the Greek government in 1967, so that the military government could disarm Cyprus for the convenience of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of that great Greek island.

Even the European Union and the United Nations are indifferent to the 50-year occupation of almost half of Cyprus by Turkish troops. The Greek part of Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Cyprus, is a member of both EU and the UN. If the EU does nothing to free Cyprus from Turkish occupation, what kind of a Union is it?

Epilogue

Greeks must wake up. They are surrounded by not so friendly people and some hard-core enemies like the Turks. The Europeans and Americans have forgotten the benefits they inherited from the ancient Greeks. Those benefits included science, philosophy, political theory, technology, the Olympics, architecture and arts and crafts. Those gifts gave the ungrateful Europeans and Americans power and civilization. Now, in 2024, the NATO countries are fighting wars that threaten civilization and the planet. They are also embracing Turkey no matter the abhorrent behavior of Erdogan and his “blue homeland” propagandists. The US is determined to push the envelope of war in Ukraine to the edges of nuclear annihilation. Russia already warned the NATO allies that direct involvement in Ukraine would mean nuclear war. And yet the French President Emmanuel Macron made the utterly irresponsible proposal of sending French troops to the war in Ukraine, that is, to fight directly the nuclear-armed Russia.

The implication of this dark age evolving wars in Ukraine and Israel and the looming threat of Turkey towards Greece is straightforward for the Greeks. Get out of NATO or become neutral towards the war in Ukraine. Get your house in order and build strong defenses. Second and most important, ignore American advice and take the Turkish threat seriously. Join the Cyprus Democratic Republic. Work together a common defense and talk to the world beyond NATO. The Kurds of Turkey and Armenians, for example, would definitely understand Greece. They, too, have tasted the bigotry and genocidal proclivities and policies of Turkey. The Aegean Sea gave birth to Greek civilization. It has always been Greek. In fact, most of Asia Minor, now under Turkish control, was Greek for millennia. The Turks understand power, nothing else. A united and strong Greece can take care of Turkey.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of seven books, including the latest book, The Antikythera Mechanism.