Turkey and Greece recently renewed a long-standing dispute over the balance of power in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas despite the two countries being NATO allies, and Ankara is trying to draw Russia into the game as a possible ally, Kommersant writes.
The situation in the region is complicated by the fact that Ankara in the near future plans to start gas production off the coast of Cyprus. On January 20, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell, announced his readiness to extend sanctions against Ankara, adding a number of Turkish citizens and companies responsible for drilling to the blacklist.
Turkey, in turn, also expects to enlist the support of a partner: Russia, Kommersant writes. According to the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, he sees an opportunity between Turkey and Russia for gas production prospects off the coast of Cyprus. According to him, Cyprus was one of the topics that the presidents of the two countries had discussed during their last meeting.
According to Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Turkey, Yuri Mavashev, the real goal of Ankara in the Mediterranean is to achieve the construction of its own gas pipeline to spite the EastMed project (East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline). The initiators of this project – Israel, Cyprus, and Greece – signed a construction agreement earlier this month.
“Turkey is annoyed that its opinion was not taken into account on the EastMed project, so it will pressure its neighbors in different ways,” Mavashev told Kommersant.
“The Turks want to use Russia as an irritant for the European Union. After all, EastMed as a competitor to the TurkStream gas pipeline. However, all this is nothing more than cunning maneuvers by Turkish diplomacy, the ultimate goal of which is to gain access to the gas fields of Cyprus,” the expert added.