If the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is a mathematical equation, then Turkey is the unknown denominator.

Its leadership is unpredictable and unchecked and has a habit of transcending the boundaries that have been set in order to achieve a modicum of understanding.

This is not the first time that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is risking his relations with the Western world.

Nonetheless, his strategy of maintaining heightened tensions that began at the end of 2019 – with a massive push to send migrants over the border with Greece – and is continuing with the issuance of a series of NAVTEX caught both Greece and the EU off guard.

Even today we cannot be certain what Erdogan’s next step will be as he must manage a variety of fronts both domestically and abroad.

In Turkey, his sacking of his son-in-law and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, shows that Edogan will not hesitate to sacrifice even family members in order to stay in power.

Meanwhile, developments in Nagorno Karabakh and the approach in dealing with the Cyprus problem after the rise of Ersin Tatar to the Turkish-Cypriot leadership are an indication of what we can expect from Ankara in terms of its foreign policy.

The problem is that despite various indications Turkey’s next moves remain unknown because we have not yet learned to read them properly.

Everyone expected that the election of Joe Biden would reduce tensions in our neck of the woods but that did not happen.

Every equation, however, has a solution.

Instead of waiting for surprises and acting after the fact it would be more useful to learn to evaluate the information we have at our disposal.

In other words we must deprive the other side of its strongest weapon – the element of surprise.