EU on brink: Brussels' passivity at 'Turkish aggression could spark full-blown conflict'

Turkey is embarking on a major naval construction programme to restore the regional maritime influence it lost after the Ottoman Empire’s collapse. However, the policy is already generating regional tensions, particularly with its neighbours Greece and Cyprus. Last week, Greece announced a significant weapons purchase as Turkish President Recep Erdogan continued with the offensive.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new arms included 18 French Rafale fighter jets, four frigates and four navy helicopters. The country also said it plans to increase the size of its armed forces by 15,000 soldiers over the next five years.

The European Union, of which Greece is a member, simply called for dialogue with Turkey – an approach which has been heavily criticised by former Greek ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos.

Mr Chrysanthopoulos argued that the bloc’s attitude towards Turkey is not only permitting violations of the territorial integrity of two of its member states but could also spark a war in Europe.

He recently explained in a report for the Campaign for an Independent Britain: “At the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers that took place in Berlin on August 27-28, it was decided to submit proposals for sanctions against Turkey to be discussed at the European Council of September 24-25, if there is no progress by then.

“According to remarks made by the High Representative Joseph Borrell, it was decided ‘to add individuals suggested by Cyprus to the list of the existing regime for illegal drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean with a view to a rapid adoption.’

“When asked to clarify what other sanctions were being discussed, Mr Borrell reportedly gave a feeble response.”

Mr Borrell was quoted as saying: “First you know, that we are listing persons. We can move to list assets-ships.

“We can move to sanction the participation in the activities that we consider illegal, meaning everything related to the work on this kind of activities, meaning prohibiting the use of European ports, European capacities, technology and supplies. We can also look at the finance needed for this kind of illegal activity. Everything related to the problem itself. And we can go to measures related to sectoral activities, in the fields in which the Turkish economy is more interrelated with the European economy. This is what we can do. But in general terms, the important thing is to focus on everything related to the activities that we consider illegal. For the time being we list only the persons.”

Mr Chrysanthopoulos continued: “This is the reply of the EU to a third country that is violating the territorial integrity of two EU member states!

“Greece must insist on a robust EU response.

“Borrell’s feeble reply has given Turkey the courage to continue its illegal activities on the continental shelves of two member states.

“The Turkish Foreign Minister announced on August 29 that the Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis will continue its exploratory activities for another three months, thus totally ignoring the EU.

“Greece should ask for an extraordinary meeting of the EU Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for the immediate adoption of effective sanctions against Turkey.”

These sanctions should include those mentioned by Mr Borrell, but according to Mr Chrysanthopoulos, Greece and Cyprus should also insist on the removal of the status of a candidate country from Turkey, suspension of the customs union with Turkey, and prohibition of exports or imports of arms of any kind with Turkey.

The former ambassador added: “We all know that the EU will not voluntarily adopt strong sanctions against Turkey.

“This is why, if the Greek Government wants to manage the issue within the EU framework, it should raise the alarm that the incapability of the EU to protect the territorial integrity of its members against a third country could lead to its dissolution.

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“The inability of the EU to adopt effective sanctions against Turkey will inevitably start discussions in Greece about a possible Grexit.”

Regarding the possibility of a war in Europe, Mr Chrysanthopoulos said: “Erdogan has trapped himself badly: the Turkish economy continues to collapse, and the only solution for him is war against Greece. And he does not hide it. He cannot go back without losing face.

“Greece and Cyprus must be prepared to face Turkey alone.

“While we hope that our fellow EU member states will recover their principles and help us to effectively face the provocations of Turkey, it is clear that we cannot count on this.”



WW3 threat: Putin aggression in Europe risks 'a new Cold War' warns NATO chief

Mr Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behaviour and attempt to establish a new “sphere of influence” would see a prompt response from NATO. He added: “We don’t want a new Cold War. We don’t want a new arms race.

“But, at the same time we have to make sure that we are adapting as the world is changing.

“So we are responding to what Russia is doing.”

Mr Stoltenberg warned Russia’s aggressive actions have been noted against its neighbours in eastern Europe.

He said the West is witnessing a Russia which is trying to reestablish some kind of sphere of influence similar to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

He added: “We have seen that in Georgia, in Moldova, in Ukraine, and that requires a response from NATO.

“And that’s exactly why we now are implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.

The NATO chief described how the nations that comprise the world’s largest military organisation was not cutting defence spending.

He said: “All Nato allies are now increasing defence spending and we are modernising our armed forces.

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The poisoning of Mr Nalvany follows the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London and the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Mr Stoltenberg said: “What matters now is that Russia has to answer some very serious questions”.

He added: “How can this happen and how can we see again and again that opposition leaders in Russia are attacked and their lives threatened and some actually killed?

“This is not the first time we’ve seen the use of poison against people who are in opposition to the Russian regime. That makes it even more serious.”

The NATO chief said he wished Mr Nalvany “a speedy recovery”.

He added: “It is an attack on fundamental democratic rights.

“An attack on the right to be in opposition, the right to be an outspoken critic of the regime.”

Mr Stoltenberg is now demanding Russia give “complete disclosure” of its Novichok programme.

In a message to President Putin, he argued Russia must transparently provide information on Novichok to the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

He stressed those responsible for the assassination attempt “have to be held accountable”.

He added: “And that’s exactly what we are clearly conveying to Russian authorities.

“NATO countries will coordinate the way forward, but it’s a bit early to say anything more.”



World War 3: US in ready position to defend Japan from Chinese aggression

Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. The landmark date effectively brought an end to World War 2. Then an imperial power, Japan surrendered after the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fifteen years after the event, Japan legally signed into its constitution its adoption of pacifism, with the US pledging its commitment to defend the nation.

The US has continued to militarily occupy Japan ever since.

This commitment has, however, in recent years wavered, mostly under current president Donald Trump.

In 2019, former national security advisor John Bolton, in his memoir The Room Where It Happened, claimed Mr Trump demanded Tokyo pay $8billion (£6billion) per year for costs associated to American troops or risk their withdrawal.

World War 3: The US is 'committed' to defending Japan from China an expert told Express.co.uk

World War 3: The US is ‘committed’ to defending Japan from China an expert told Express.co.uk (Image: GETTY)

Japan military: Being pacifist, Japan has no considerable army of its own instead relying on the US

Japan military: Being pacifist, Japan has no considerable army of its own instead relying on the US (Image: GETTY)

This was compared to the roughly $2.5billion (£1.9billion) that Japan had been paying.

In protecting Japan, the US simultaneously fulfils its 1960 commitment and its own interests in curbing Beijing’s influence.

Despite Trump’s rocky rhetoric on the deal, Sean King, senior vice-president of Park Strategies in New York and an affiliated scholar at University of Notre Dame’s Liu Institute, told Express.co.uk that the US would continue to defend Japan from China’s aggression.

He explained: “You would assume any aggression from China towards Japan would be around the Senkaku Islands.

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Royal Navy: A UK commander works during a joint maritime practice with Japan

Royal Navy: A UK commander works during a joint maritime practice with Japan (Image: GETTY)

“The US has 50,000 troops in Japan, most of whom are in Okinawa, which is nearby; it has 23,000 troops in South Korea who could be called on in case of contingency, and however many hours away the US has more troops in Hawaii and Guam.

“So America’s military power is still bigger than China’s, added to this is the fact we’ve got more war time and experience: Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else.

“But one problem is that we’d be fighting in China’s backyard, not here.

“So China has the advantage of being on home turf almost, or at least almost on home turf.

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China-Japan: The two nations have historically been at loggerheads through the Sino-Japanese wars

China-Japan: The two nations have historically been at loggerheads through the Sino-Japanese wars (Image: GETTY)

Donald Trump: Despite his rhetoric, Sean King said Trump would be willing to defend Japan from China

Donald Trump: Despite his rhetoric, Sean King said Trump would be willing to defend Japan from China (Image: GETTY)

“China would be fighting much closer to home so they’d have an advantage there.

“I would think in a spat over the Senkaku Islands depending on the situation, I do think the US would be in a position to defend Japan.”

When asked about Trump’s hesitation to throw the US’ weight behind Japan without contesting military costs, Mr King said: “Trump likes to harass Japan on defence costs but hopefully that’s a separate business proposition and not a military policy.

“We are by treaty obligated to defend Japan in the case of attack, and in 2014, when then president Barack Obama became the first sitting president to confirm that the Senkaku’s fall under Article 5 of the US-Japan defence treaty.

South China Sea: The waterway is one of the most disputed regions on the planet

South China Sea: The waterway is one of the most disputed regions on the planet (Image: Express Newspapers)

“Even Trump, in 2017, reconfirmed that position with Shinzo Abe (Japan’s Prime Minister).

“I have no reason to think we wouldn’t follow through on our treaty obligations; I think Trump’s wanting to get more payment from Japan and South Korea is a side issue but doesn’t undercut the commitment.”

The US has military bases and operations all around the world, especially in the Pacific region.

China influence: Meanwhile, Beijing is extending its influence in other regions such as Africa

China influence: Meanwhile, Beijing is extending its influence in other regions such as Africa (Image: GETTY)

For 2020, the Department of Defense Comptroller’s Office estimates the total cost of overseas bases and deployments at $24.4billion (£18.3billion).

The country’s largest military presence in 2016 was in Japan.

The number often fluctuates, however, with Japan and South Korea regularly swapping places.



South China Sea tensions: China warned over provoking fresh aggression in disputed waters

Mr Bacordo said at times the Chinese navy seemed to be attempting to provoke the Philippines’ navy into aggression. He said the Chinese ships were near the Reed Bank for “about a week already” on Monday. He added that their speed of “about three knots” led Philippines’ navy to conclude they were “conducting surveys”.

Mr Bacordo said the navy has reported the incident to the Armed Forces Chief and the Department of National Defence and have requested the filing of a diplomatic protest.

He added: “We have checked if they have clearance to be there. We found out there is none.”

The Reed Bank is an energy-rich and contested area in the South China Sea.

The Philippines have said the area is in its exclusive economic zone which was backed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.

But China has continued to challenge economic rights to the area in the South China Sea.

The Reed Bank is located 85 nautical miles from Philippines’ Palawan Island and 595 nautical miles from China’s Hainan province coast.

This comes a day after Philippines’ Foreign Secretary said all foreign surveys in the area had been stopped.

Teodoro Locsin Jnr said: “As far as I know we’ve stopped all marine surveys by foreign ships.”

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The navy chief said: “The commanding officer took precautionary measures to defend themselves.”

Manila filed a diplomatic protest after the incident.

Mr Bacordo said: “The way I analyse it, in our dispute in that area, the first one to fire the shot becomes the loser.

“So they will do everything for us to take aggressive action. But we have to be patient with that.

“I’m sure they want us to take the first shot but we will not.

“Any navy who fires the first shot in that area will lose international support. That includes all the navies patrolling in that area.

He added: “We have to exercise maximum tolerance.

“There are some activities that once you do it, you can no longer take it back, and that is firing the first shot.”

Mr Bacordo opposed the belief that diplomatic protest over China’s actions in the area were futile.



Trump humiliation: Australia savages US over China aggression – 'we don't agree'

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a joint press conference where they discussed a joint response to China. At the conference, Mr Pompeo praised Australia for standing up against pressure for China after the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Payne also said that the US and Australia share a commitment to hold countries accountable to international law.

Joined by Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Ms Payne held two days worth of talks with Mr Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper in Washington.

At the press briefing, Ms Payne reiterated Australia and the US’ commitment to hold countries accountable for breaches of international law, like China’s erosion of Hong Kong’s freedoms.

But while Ms Payne expressed a desire to cooperate with the US, she added that Australia did not agree on everything with Washington or with Beijing.

She said: “The relationship that we have with China is important. And we have no intention of injuring it.

“But nor do we intend to do things that are contrary to our interests.”

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Ms Payne continued to stress that Australia and the US have a mutual interest in a free, prosperous and secure Asia-Pacific region.

She said that Australia wants to see the region broadly aligned on issues, including China.

She went on to say that the US and Australia “don’t agree on everything”, but still have had a “respectful relationship” for over 100 years.

While she didn’t not elaborate on disagreements between the US and Australia, Ms Payne emphasised that Australia makes it’s own decisions based it’s own national interests.

She added: “We deal with China in the same way. We have a strong economic engagement, other engagement, and it works in the interests of both countries.”

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s total trade from 2018 to 2019.

But in response to Australia’s calls for an inquiry into China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing has angrily punished them through trade restrictions.

Beijing has suspended beef imports from four of Australia’s largest abattoirs, as well as branding Australian barley imports with tariffs.

The Chinese education ministry also took the brutal step of warning students against studying in Australia, citing racism.

Chinese students made up nearly 30 percent of Australia’s international student population prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The press briefing followed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterating that the country will follow it’s own national interests in regards to China.

His remarks come as the US is expected to pressure Australia into strengthening defence operations in the South China Sea.

Bilateral talks between the two countries, known as Ausmin, are expected by experts to intensify joint defence cooperation between the US and Australia.

But Australia is expected to resist American pressure to conduct freedom of navigation exercises near disputed waters.



Trump humiliation: Australia savages US over China aggression – 'we don't agree'

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a joint press conference where they discussed a joint response to China. At the conference, Mr Pompeo praised Australia for standing up against pressure for China after the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Payne also said that the US and Australia share a commitment to hold countries accountable to international law.

Joined by Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Ms Payne held two days worth of talks with Mr Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper in Washington.

At the press briefing, Ms Payne reiterated Australia and the US’ commitment to hold countries accountable for breaches of international law, like China’s erosion of Hong Kong’s freedoms.

But while Ms Payne expressed a desire to cooperate with the US, she added that Australia did not agree on everything with Washington or with Beijing.

She said: “The relationship that we have with China is important. And we have no intention of injuring it.

“But nor do we intend to do things that are contrary to our interests.”

READ MORE: US-China warning: Trump heading to ‘point of no return’ as experts ring war alarm bells

Ms Payne continued to stress that Australia and the US have a mutual interest in a free, prosperous and secure Asia-Pacific region.

She said that Australia wants to see the region broadly aligned on issues, including China.

She went on to say that the US and Australia “don’t agree on everything”, but still have had a “respectful relationship” for over 100 years.

While she didn’t not elaborate on disagreements between the US and Australia, Ms Payne emphasised that Australia makes it’s own decisions based it’s own national interests.

She added: “We deal with China in the same way. We have a strong economic engagement, other engagement, and it works in the interests of both countries.”

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s total trade from 2018 to 2019.

But in response to Australia’s calls for an inquiry into China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing has angrily punished them through trade restrictions.

Beijing has suspended beef imports from four of Australia’s largest abattoirs, as well as branding Australian barley imports with tariffs.

The Chinese education ministry also took the brutal step of warning students against studying in Australia, citing racism.

Chinese students made up nearly 30 percent of Australia’s international student population prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The press briefing followed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterating that the country will follow it’s own national interests in regards to China.

His remarks come as the US is expected to pressure Australia into strengthening defence operations in the South China Sea.

Bilateral talks between the two countries, known as Ausmin, are expected by experts to intensify joint defence cooperation between the US and Australia.

But Australia is expected to resist American pressure to conduct freedom of navigation exercises near disputed waters.



WW3 warning: Japan planning rapid increase in armed forces to combat China's aggression

Tokyo revealed it is considering a huge increase to its defence capabilities as it accused China of pushing territorial claims amid growing tensions in the region. The East Asia nation released its annual defence review, where said Beijing has been pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The nation said it suspected China of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.

In a defence white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, Japan said China “is continuing to attempt to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea”.

The white paper said: “Japan must strengthen its defence capability at speeds that are fundamentally different from the past.

“China has relentlessly continued unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion in the sea area around the Senkaku islands, leading to a grave matter of concern.”

The white paper described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, Japan said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.

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Such disinformation included online claims that the coronavirus was brought to China by a US military member, or that Chinese herbal remedies could treat COVID-19, a defence ministry official said at a briefing.

Other threats faced by Japan include North Korea’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as well as a resurgence of military activity by Russia in the skies and waters in Japan, at times in joint drills with China, the defence review said.

China and Japan have historically had a difficult relationship.

However, in 2018, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to deepen cooperation.

Mr Abe said: “As major economic powers of the region, China and Japan should take the responsibility to play constructive roles in safeguarding peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region and the world.”

The two met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

 

Japan’s attack against China echoes similar criticisms made by the US and comes as tension in the region increases as Beijing and Washington conduct separate military drills in the resource-rich South China Sea and as relations between the world’s two largest economies deteriorated.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday rejected China’s disputed claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, saying they were “completely unlawful”.

Beijing insists its intentions in the waterway, through which around $3trillion of global trade passes each year, are peaceful.



India-China: Britons demand West intervene to STOP Beijing aggression – 'They must learn'

On Monday 15, 20 Indian troops were killed during clashes with Chinese troops along the border in the Himalayas. The deaths in the Galwan Valley in the disputed Ladakh region were the first military casualties in 40 years. Following the serious incident between the two countries, Beijing has begun to deploy large troops and weapons in the region which is in the far north of India, according to India’s foreign ministry. 

With that in mind, Express.co.uk asked, “Should the West take action to stop Chinese incursions in India?”

In response, 3,285 people out of 5,400 agreed that the West should stop China’s apparent aggression on the border. 

A further 1,945 said ‘no’ while just 170 were not sure. 

One person said: “The Western nations need to form a concerted financial response to China, perhaps tacitly to start with, by building our own manufacturing and other facilities to replace those in China. 

“Without the West’s money, China will be hampered in its expansion plans.”

A second said: “Sanctions from all countries are now required.”

A third said: “Nobody wants to see World War 3 happen, but China has become very quickly grown bossy and bolshie?

“China needs to be pulled up a bit, they have to learn that regardless of might and strength everybody suffers if they start a war.

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“Keep well out of it.”

Satellite imagery has shown larger numbers of troops massing on the border according to India’s Foreign Ministry. 

Following the build-up of troops, the Indian government has made counter deployments in the region. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, has, however, blamed China for the escalation of tensions. 

He said: “At the heart of the matter is that since early May, the Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC.

“Peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship.

“A continuation of the current situation would only escalate the atmosphere.”



India-China: Britons demand West intervene to STOP Beijing aggression – 'They must learn'

On Monday 15, 20 Indian troops were killed during clashes with Chinese troops along the border in the Himalayas. The deaths in the Galwan Valley in the disputed Ladakh region were the first military casualties in 40 years. Following the serious incident between the two countries, Beijing has begun to deploy large troops and weapons in the region which is in the far north of India, according to India’s foreign ministry. 

With that in mind, Express.co.uk asked, “Should the West take action to stop Chinese incursions in India?”

In response, 3,285 people out of 5,400 agreed that the West should stop China’s apparent aggression on the border. 

A further 1,945 said ‘no’ while just 170 were not sure. 

One person said: “The Western nations need to form a concerted financial response to China, perhaps tacitly to start with, by building our own manufacturing and other facilities to replace those in China. 

“Without the West’s money, China will be hampered in its expansion plans.”

A second said: “Sanctions from all countries are now required.”

A third said: “Nobody wants to see World War 3 happen, but China has become very quickly grown bossy and bolshie?

“China needs to be pulled up a bit, they have to learn that regardless of might and strength everybody suffers if they start a war.

JUST IN: WW3: China and India tensions ‘volatile’ – Fears grow over nuclear 

“Keep well out of it.”

Satellite imagery has shown larger numbers of troops massing on the border according to India’s Foreign Ministry. 

Following the build-up of troops, the Indian government has made counter deployments in the region. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava, has, however, blamed China for the escalation of tensions. 

He said: “At the heart of the matter is that since early May, the Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC.

“Peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship.

“A continuation of the current situation would only escalate the atmosphere.”