Amid soaring Turkey-Greece tensions related to the eastern Mediterranean gas exploration spat, which has already resulted in rival fighter jets patrolling airspace off Cyprus, the Associated Press reports Ankara has deployed some 40 tanks and armored vehicles to the border with Greece.
The AP/New York Times cites Turkish media reports on Saturday:
Meanwhile, Turkish media reported that tanks were being moved towards the Greek border. The Cumhuriyet newspaper said 40 tanks were being transported from the Syrian border to Edirne in northwest Turkey and carried photographs of armored vehicles loaded on trucks.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the deployment.
Turkey deploys tanks to Greece border from Syrian border, Turkish private news agency İHA claims.
Approximately 40 tanks. pic.twitter.com/nnDrEegXsj
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) September 5, 2020
But confirmation has come after Turkish news agency İHA posted video showing APC armored troops carriers headed to the border point.
However, tanks were not evident in the video of the large convoy on the Turkish highway, and the deployment could have been pre-planned, though will certainly be noticed and responded to by Athens.
Meanwhile NATO leadership is attempting to mediate the inter-NATO member dispute, which could prove highly embarrassing, also given Russia is about to kick off naval war games around Cyprus, notably in the very disputed waters Turkey is claiming as its own.
The AP reviews the past two weeks of the standoff fast becoming militarized: “Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots have multiplied over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.”
“A Turkish and a Greek frigate collided last month, reportedly causing minor damage to the Turkish frigate but no injuries,” the report adds.