The discovery in the last few years of large gas reserves in the region has whetted appetites in Ankara, which has been forcefully demanding its piece of the pie, even at the risk of contesting the limits of respective economic zones as well as provoking the EU’s intervention and threatening the region’s stability.
Though normally sparkling and crystal clear as August draws to a close, the Mediterranean is currently troubled by politics. At the center of this new storm are the aspirations of Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan. It all started in mid-August when Turkey deployed an oil research vessel, the Oruç Reis, with its naval escort, to search for petroleum and natural gas in the waters near the Greek isle of Kastellorizo – waters which are claimed by Athens and Ankara as belonging to their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ, over which a country has sovereign rights regarding the exploration and usage of resources).
The two countries then engaged in a naval power struggle which caused a collision between two Greek and Turkish war ships, pulling the region towards the kind of explosive situation that has not happened in nearly twenty years – to such an extent that French president Emmanuel Macron dispatched French military reinforcements to the region.
With Egypt and France being in open conflict with Turkey and Libya, there is no longer any doubt that the Eastern Mediterranean is caught in a storm where European interests on one side and the interests of the countries of the south-eastern edge of the Mediterranean (especially Egypt, Israel, and Libya) on the o