The intimidation of Turkish naval units, last February 12, against SAIPEM 12000 - a ship specialized in oil exploration - is part of Ankara's strategy to hinder the exploration of natural gas fields in the exclusive economic zone to the south of Cyprus. This is done by carrying out naval and air exercises in the vicinity of ships equipped with augers.
Precisely following the failure of the Cyprus reunification talks (due to Turkish interference), the Nicosia government had to revise the whole security apparatus.
It should be noted that, when we talk about Cyprus, we mean the Republic of Cyprus which does not include the territory of Northern Cyprus (the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, devoid of international recognition), which in fact is a state controlled by Ankara.
The new strategic scenario became evident during the 1 October Parade - the day celebrating independence from Great Britain, which took place in the 1959 - when the Cypriot armed forces demonstrated their potential and their close ties with the Greek ones. During the event, the National Guard showed four Mi-35Ps, two SA-342L1s, two AW139s and two Bell 206L-3s in flight, while Thor-M1 surface-to-air missile systems were found on the ground (SA-15 Gauntlet) and Buk-M1-2 (SA-17 Grizzly). Furthermore, at the request of the Cypriot Ministry of Defense, two Greek F-16Cs, with three auxiliary tanks, flew over Nicosia, testifying to the support of Athens.
By political decision of the Nicosia government, as well as by Washington's pressure on Athens, in order to avoid conflicts with Turkey, the Greek government does not allocate military departments on the island, of any kind. However, in the last 16 years, the reliance on the Greek F-16 for the Cypriot air defense has never failed. In particular, the Athens Air Force has always had crews and materials of its departments on F-16 (equipped with GBU-12 laser guided bombs) and on F-4E, ready to intervene in emergency situations in space plane of the island.
Due to the escalation of provocations by the Turkish armed forces, the government of the Republic of Cyprus and the staff of its National Guard have revised the security doctrine with the involvement of the historic Greek ally, as happened before the 2001. The current planning, in fact, foresees the presence of the Greek aeronautics in the prevention of attacks against the Cypriot coast led by the Turkish navy and the possibility of mobilization of troops in case of invasion by Ankara.
Currently the Italian Air Force contributes to the air defense of five nations (Slovenia, Albania and the three Baltic Republics). A hunting deployment Typhoon as well as sending naval naval units to Cypriot waters to perform joint exercises would be an unequivocal sign for the Ankara government. In fact, the Navy - and the other armed forces - should be used to defend national economic interests and not simply to act as ferrymen and bring to Italy possible, future electors of certain parties.
It is hoped that the new government finally has a geopolitical vision, taking back those spaces in the eastern Mediterranean that the current executive - but also the past ones - have completely abandoned, allowing Turkey to assume a dominant role.
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(photo: NATO / US Air Force / T├╝rk Silahl─▒ Kuvvetleri)