Tensions Over Turkey's Expansion Into the Mediterranean

The Turkish survey vessel 'Oruc Reis' being escorted in disputed waters by Turkish warships (August 2020)

Tensions between Turkey and the European Union are growing, as Turkey prepares to carry out military exercises off Cyprus.

In recent months, Turkey has initiated a number of provocative moves, including the occupation of uninhabited Greek islands. The motive behind these actions is seen as being to grab the mineral rights in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean and to exercise leverage over the EU.

Furthermore, the dispute between Greece and Turkey over disputed territorial waters flared up recently after both countries agreed rival accords on maritime boundaries with Libya and Egypt.

The deployment of the Turkish survey ship, the 'Oruc Reis' into the disputed area earlier this month constituted a serious escalation as it's task a[ears to be to survey the sea bed for resources.

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief has stated that the bloc is preparing sanctions against Turkey and will be implemented unless Ankara reduces tensions.

Turkish Vice President, Fuat Oktay, has condemned the EU's threat of sanctions as "hypocritical" saying in a Twitter post:

It is hypocritical for the European Union to call for dialogue and, simultaneously, make other plans regarding Turkey's activities within our continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean."

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