Greece continues to escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean amid calls from the European Union for dialogue. In addition to conducting military exercises, Athens deployed troops to the island of Kastellorizo (Megisti-Meis) and is preparing to conclude an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) agreement with the Greek Cypriots – similar to Athens' controversial deal with Egypt. Last but not least, Greek leaders fueled tensions last week by talking about extending their claims in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles.
On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with former energy chief and current Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, announced that Turkey had discovered some 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas – the largest deposit found in the country's history.
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.
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.
What are the driving factors behind the conflict in Libya? What is Turkey’s strategic objective in Libya? What are the future scenarios for Libya?