Conflict Trends

Eastern Mediterranean

The EU’s seven Mediterranean states – France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus – met on Thursday to discuss escalating tensions with Turkey over maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s regional foreign policy. Crisis Group expert Nigar Göksel says that, over the past month, Turkish and Greek military exercises, drilling activities in disputed areas and a new maritime deal between Athens and Cairo have contributed to inflaming tensions, fuelling hostile rhetoric, derailing incipient dialogue efforts and exacerbating a brewing diplomatic and potentially military crisis. As Greece’s closest allies within the EU, summit leaders hope to forge a common position ahead of the European Council meeting later this month, which could open the door to tougher EU sanctions on Ankara.

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