Tension in eastern Med, diplomacy at work

Dossier at extraordinary EU council

14 August, 13:20

    (by Patrizia Antonini) (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, 14 AGO - Tension is high in the eastern Mediterranean after Turkey sent the ship Oruc Reis for hydrocarbon exploration activities within the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) not recognized by Ankara, in an escalation that sees numerous interests at stake, including the Libyan party. Within this renewed strongarm, Turkish Navy frigates and corvettes are accompanying the Oruc Reis and the defense ministry has said that it is ready to protect its country's interests. This is unacceptable for Athens, which is supported by EU partners and Israel.

    Diplomacy is at work in an attempt to defuse the situation, with the mediation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of the European Council Charles Michel, who spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who spoke with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. The dossier is on the table of the extraordinary European foreign affairs council, summoned by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel. Paris however has already strengthened its military presence in the area, sending two Rafale jets and two military vessels while Athens is in a state of alert, with soldiers summoned from summer leave.

    Tension is palpable also because, in a display of force, Turkey has started a naval drill in the area south-east of the Greek islands of Kastellorizo and Rhodes and an involuntary incident could imperil the situation.

    The escalation comes a week after the signature of an agreement of maritime demarcation between the Greek government and Egypt on August 6. The agreement is in contrast with the accord signed in November between Erdogan and Libyan Premier Fayez Al Sarraj to divide the eastern Mediterranean in exchange for military aid against General Khalifa Haftar (supported by Russia, Egypt and the Emirates). (ANSAmed).

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