By Natalia Konarzewska
June 29, 2020
The discovery of new gas reserves in the region was expected to bring peace and prosperity to the Eastern Mediterranean littoral states but it has created new geopolitical and security risks instead. In April and May this year, Turkey continued with gas drilling within Cyprus' exclusive economic zone which drew new harsh criticism from the European Union. Turkey's assertive stance shows that Ankara is unlikely to abandon its pursuit for hydrocarbons in the region and that it will hence remain on a collision course with Greece and Cyprus. The EU would do well to seek de-escalation and should recognize that circumventing Turkey is not a viable strategy. Otherwise, there is a clear risk that the hydrocarbon dispute in the region will spiral out of control and lead to military confrontation.
By Micha’el Tanchum
July 3, 2019
Turkey's provocative action of sending two drillships into Cypriot waters to explore for natural gas is a response to a grander provocation coming from the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Israel to exclude Turkey from the marketing of Eastern Mediterranean gas. This common front, composed of interlinked security partnerships among the region's current natural gas producers and Greece, has been increasingly supported by the United States, France, and Italy, each of whom has significant economic investments in Eastern Mediterranean gas. For Ankara, its NATO allies' support of this common front is tantamount to a policy of soft containment against Turkey. The hardening of this containment through substantial naval support to the Republic of Cyprus as a response to Turkey's actions could send the Eastern Mediterranean into a dangerous escalation spiral that could permanently alter Turkey's relationship with NATO.
By Halil Gürhanlı
April 7, 2016
With the refugee deal with EU, the regime in Turkey earns the silence of its European critics as the country proceeds towards complete authoritarianism. The EU leaders get to have their cake and eat it too, outsourcing gate-keeping while maintaining the moral upper-hand. However, this is a joint “achievement” gained at the expense of millions of Syrian refugees. It tarnishes EU’s status as a normative power. Meanwhile, Turkey is also a loser, as it will not be politically and financially compensated for carrying the refugee burden.
By Ozan Serdaroğlu (vol. 8, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
Seven months after Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades withdrew from the peace talks, attempts to reunify Cyprus are again underway with greater optimism following the election of Mustafa Akıncı as the new leader of Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot side continues to enlarge its diplomatic capacities and develops a new regional context where Turkey is left with fewer options. Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics together with the more assertive, independent-minded stance of Turkish Cypriots in favor of “reunification” mean that Turkey faces the most delicate stage of its engagement in Cyprus since 1974.
By Stephen Blank (vol. 5, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
New tension is brewing between Turkey and Cyprus after Cyprus’ and Israel’s enormous gas finds in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2010-11 and Turkey’s extremely negative reaction to those finds. Turkey can be embroiled with a conflict, not only with Cyprus, its European backers and Israel, but with Russia as well. The Cyprus energy conflict demonstrates the urgency of making progress on the tangled issue of Cyprus’ future and the relationships among its two ethnoreligous groups and of fully integrating Turkey into Europe.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.