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A summer of sabre-rattling in the Aegean

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You know the world is in turmoil with the war in Europe, tempers frayed in the Aegean, the cost of living is no longer sufferable, and climate change will fry us all.

The climate emergency may be the last of our worries if the war in Ukraine spreads across the continent as Russia becomes more emboldened in its bomb blitz.

Choking Ukraine with cluster bombs and cruise missiles is causing huge structural damage and untold human misery.

Yet the West seems powerless to end the carnage as Russia remains in denial that it has invaded an independent sovereign country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov boldly told the BBC this week: “We didn’t invade Ukraine”.

He insisted the Red Army was out hunting for Nazis and saving Ukraine from the big bad West.

“We declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the West that dragging Ukraine into Nato was a criminal act.”

It is hard to understand what Russia hopes to achieve and how destroying a once-loved neighbour makes the world a safer place for the Kremlin cronies.

A consequence of the unnecessary war is food shortages as the world’s breadbasket has been filled with shrapnel.

This is compounded by soaring price inflation and brain-numbing energy bills as sanctions on Moscow impact oil and gas prices.

Certainly, we should be much further down the road on using renewable energy sources, but bad habits die hard – so filling the car with petrol has become more painful than paying off the mortgage.

Although taking out a loan will also start to pinch as interest rates go up to dampen rampant inflation.

Everywhere you turn, your purchasing power is compromised, choices must be made, and enjoyment sacrificed to pay the bills.

While this maelstrom of negativity swirls around us, there’s another loose cannon firing bluster bullets our way.

Worried that Russia is hugging world attention for its aggression, Turkey has decided to enter the sabre-rattling arena to threaten Greece.

What’s the point in having undesirable neighbours if you can’t pick a fight with them and claim their garden is yours.

After hanging out with Putin for too long, Erdogan decided to spice things up by throwing barbs at the Greeks.

A sure-fire vote winner, he gets to distract attention from his failed economy and human rights abuses.

If you don’t re-invent old rivalries, politics would be as feisty as a game of chess over tea and biscuits.

Greece and Cyprus are trying to play calm and collected as Turkey froths at the mouth from belligerent rhetoric about taking the Aegean.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis popped over to Cyprus to have a word with the President about Turkey’s bare-knuckle behaviour.

Mitsotakis said diplomacy would always come first as he would not close the door on Turkey, and de-escalation was always the best policy.

Such words of reconciliation are more likely to rile Ankara’s bully-boy tactics as it wants to operate in a theatre of chaos, not calm waters with people in straw hats sipping the champagne of content.

Erdogan thrives on territorial disputes with Greece over land, sea or air while he goes further to annoy Cyprus because he does not recognise the fully-fledged EU state.

Turkey has become emboldened in its gunboat diplomacy in wanting to re-draw maps of the East Med at the expense of Greece and hoping to scupper Cyprus’ energy search.

Greek-Turkish discord smashed the Geiger counter recently after Erdogan warned Greece to demilitarise its islands in the Aegean, saying (in a serious voice) that he was “not joking.”

Ankara claims Athens has created a military presence on the Aegean islands in violation of dusty treaties that ceded them to Greece after a long period of occupation by Turks.

Greece argues the islands need defending given the warmongering from NATO’s second-biggest military that maintains a large landing fleet on its Aegean coast.

Turkey also has a sizeable occupation army on the other side of the Med on Cyprus, where it also likes to issue threats and gag Turkish Cypriots from having a voice.

Playing the hate game never ends well – the Ukraine war is a testament to how rabid nationalism kills in the hands of a brutal power.

Not standing up to bullies gives them the courage to cause mayhem, and there’s no putting that back in the box.