Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean are escalating anew to dangerous levels. Turkey responded to a Greek-Egyptian maritime agreement, which undermined Germany’s mediation efforts, by dispatching the research vessel Oruç Reis, alongside frigates, to the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek military consequently went into high alert.
The current tension in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece is a consequence of Greece’s unfair and maximalist claims that violate Turkey’s rights in the region. Any sober analyst would agree on the unfair nature of the plans that Athens tries to impose on Ankara. These aggressive claims are supported by actors like France, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who all have their own problems with Turkey.
Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean seem incapable of de-escalating. Although the situation on the Sirte-Jufra line in Libya remains under control thanks to Turkey’s diplomatic talks with the U.S. and Russia, last week’s explosion in Lebanon and the Greco-Egyptian maritime deal fueled tensions anew. Athens and Cairo recently announced that they had concluded an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) agreement, directly challenging Turkey’s November 2019 deal with Libya. As a matter of fact, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias did not hesitate to describe that agreement as “the opposite” of the Turkish-Libyan treaty.
Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have escalated in recent days amid Greek concerns over Turkey’s decision to issue a NAVTEX for the research vessel Oruç Reis to start drilling near the island of Kastellorizo. Athens, claiming that Ankara had violated Greece’s continental shelf, issued a counter-NAVTEX and placed its navy on high alert. Turkey rejected the Greek claim, reaffirming that the islands, including Kastellorizo, did not have a continental shelf, and deployed 15 warships to the area.