Recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have multiple drivers including the race for exploitation of energy resources, long-standing maritime disputes, and the broader geopolitical competition between regional powers. While Turkey’s recent assertiveness of her rights in the Eastern Mediterranean drew renewed attention to the region, this round of confrontation has been long in the making.
The Eastern Mediterranean question, like a ghost train, shuttles around and around, plunging the global agenda into fright with each passing day.
For Western capitals, a Turkey led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a problem they do not know how to manage. It has also been election campaign material for politicians since Brexit. You can be sure that the Erdoğan factor will persist in election campaigns in Germany in 2021 and in France in 2022.
For the last decade, the main concern of Turkish foreign policy has been the crises in the Middle East and North Africa, which include threats emanating from different terrorist groups and state failures as a result of Arab insurgencies. Ankara, however, has been spending its energy on its relations with Western countries, especially France and the United States, rather than on these crises. Nowadays, many observers both from inside and outside the nation have been trying to answer the question, “What does the West want from Turkey?” In this piece, I will try to trace the roots of Paris' approach toward Ankara.