Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet Turkish President Erdogan today in Istanbul.
Turkey and Greece have both had long-standing disputes over each other’s maritime zones in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, including Greek sovereignty over islands in the Aegean and the status of Cyprus. A major underlying factor of Greece and Turkey’s policy disagreements is the issue of energy security.
On Wednesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Erdogan, discussing mutual natural gas and oil exploration in the Mediterranean. As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, Mediterranean countries scramble to secure their place as alternative energy distributors to Europe.
With gas and oil prices soaring in the West, expect the US to likely pressure Mediterranean states to cooperate. Notably, Turkey is likely to ease tensions around maritime oil and gas exploration and increase its supply to the West in the event that Russia decides to cut its natural gas shipment.
Therefore, in the short- medium-term, expect Greece, Turkey, and Israel to reach a temporary cooperative agreement on how oil and gas exploration rights should be handled vis-a-vis the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This agreement may ameliorate Greece and Turkey’s dispute over their maritime exclusive economic zones, and thus increase energy distribution to the West.
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Alex is an Analyst focusing on political events in the post-Soviet space. With a background in international law and diplomacy, his expertise lies in the geopolitical, economic and energy security dynamics of the South Caucasus.