By Cengiz Çandar
August 26, 2020
Turkey’s and Greece’s zero-sum game in dealing with the issues of maritime delimitation and jurisdiction has for decades posed a problem for the peace and stability in their region. The discovery of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean has raised the stakes significantly. Mutual intransigence, but most importantly the growing power of ultranationalist officers in the Turkish state, is exacerbating tensions. Turkey’s Blue Homeland doctrine, the endeavor to establish Turkish naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean, is ultimately a testimony to the clout of anti-Western ultra-nationalism in the Turkish military and state. It ensures that the eastern Mediterranean will be in perpetual conflict.
By Michaël Tanchum
August 25, 2020
Turkey's expanded military presence in Libya has tilted the geopolitical game-board more in Ankara's favor vis-à-vis France and Egypt and their partner the United Arab Emirates. While motivating the strong backing Paris and Cairo are providing to Greece as it confronts Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Ankara's effort to extend Turkey's influence throughout Africa is driving a wider strategic competition between Turkey and France in the Sahel and likewise between Turkey and Egypt in the Horn of Africa. Ankara's advances in Niger in the Sahel and in Ethiopia in the Horn have raised the stakes for Turkey's rivals, pushing them into closer alignment, with the rivalry between Turkey and the Franco-Emirati-Egyptian entente defining one of Africa's main geopolitical fault lines.
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 Michaël Tanchum
June 23, 2020
On June 18, 2020, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance is opening an investigation prompted by France's allegation that one of its naval frigates was targeted for attack by a Turkish naval warship in the Mediterranean as the frigate sought to interdict a civilian Turkish vessel suspected of transporting weapons to Libya. Although Turkey denies the allegation, the incident represents a new escalation in the rising tensions between Turkey and France already inflamed by France's increasing naval cooperation with Cyprus. Following the recent success of Turkey's military intervention to preserve Libya's Government of National Accord, Ankara reportedly plans to establish an air base and a naval base in the country. Reorienting the strategic architecture of the region more in Turkey's favor, the two Libyan bases will greatly boost Turkey's engagement with the nations of North Africa and the Sahel. Facing a potential loss of influence in Africa, France may choose to align more deeply with Turkey's rivals in Libya.
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.