Turkey and Greece scheduled to meet about EastMed operations

Turkish and Greek delegations are expected to meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels today to begin the next phase of

Turkey Eastmed operations

Photo: Erdem Sahin/ EPA/ EFE

Turkish and Greek delegations are expected to meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels today to begin the next phase of negotiations over maritime rights in the Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed).

According to Turkey’s defence ministry, Turkey and Greece reached a “common understanding on general principles” last Tuesday. The two dispute claims to natural gas reserves in the EastMed, with Athens accusing Ankara of searching for energy in Greek waters. Both countries have sent their navies to the region, and France has deployed own fighter jets and warships in support of Greece.

Expect the EU and NATO to tread cautiously while mediating the dispute. The disagreement over energy rights, combined with mounting tensions over Cyprus, has led to a rift within the EU over the question of whether to sanction Turkey. While Greece, France and Cyprus have urged sanctions, Germany has cautioned that they would only further aggravate the crisis. In the short- to medium-term, expect Turkey to take advantage of European disagreement over how to respond to the crisis by ramping up its military activities in the EastMed. This could lead to a premature end to the ongoing negotiations.

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