There is already talk of war in the Mediterranean. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has warned that Greece’s planned expansion of its maritime borders will lead to war with Europe. The Greek government intends to exercise its legal right under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to double its territorial waters with Italy from 6 to 12 nautical miles. The problem is that Turkey is not signed up to the convention and feels threatened by the move.
Who owns the mineral resources in the Mediterranean? The recent flare-up between Turkey and Greece is in large part due to the fact that new gas deposits have recently been discovered beneath the sea floor. Unfortunately, international law does not give a clear answer to who has the right to exploit these natural resources, and states sometimes interpret the law of the sea very differently.
Ultimately, countries bordering one another have to come to an agreement or take international legal action to resolve disputes. However, a legal or negotiated solution seems a long way off: France has strengthened its military presence in the Mediterranean to support Greece, and Turkey has deployed its navy to escort research vessels. Germany is still trying to appease both parties. How should the EU position itself, and how can tensions be de-escalated?
How can Europe de-escalate tensions with Turkey? Can all parties be brought to the table to find a negotiated solution? Is Ankara using tension with Athens to distract from domestic challenges? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!