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.
Western media’s opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is possibly the world’s worst kept secret. Western commentators immediately jump to conclusions about the supposedly expansionist goals of Erdoğan’s Turkey whenever Ankara launches a fresh foreign policy initiative. Experts in Washington, Paris, Athens, Abu Dhabi and elsewhere make the same arguments in an attempt to contain Turkey’s influence to an unbearable extent. At the heart of those comments lies the claim that the Turkish president has isolated his country in the international arena, which will lead the nation to a disaster and that the Turkish people deserve better.
For the last month, there have been increasing reports about the rising tension in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece. Although tension in the Aegean Sea is not uncommon due to several disputes in regards to maritime delimitation, this time there are broader issues. There is confusion among the international observers about the nature of this tension and it could be appropriate to note a few points on what led to it.
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One of the main reasons for Greece’s anti-Turkish policies is the dramatic change in the balance of power between Turkey and Greece. Turkey began to play in the upper league and became a major regional power. Therefore, Greece has been trying to prevent the further rise of Turkish power in the region, and for this reason, it is insistently trying to provoke Turkey and push it over its limits.