Gunboat diplomacy won’t solve Greece and Turkey’s feud in the eastern Mediterranean – despite what Erdogan seems to think

Both sides need to agree a diplomatic solution as all the nations involved in the region will regret further escalation, writes Ahmed Aboudouh

Turkish seismic research vessel 'Oruc Reis' as it is escorted by Turkish Naval ships in the Mediterranean Sea
Turkish seismic research vessel ‘Oruc Reis’ as it is escorted by Turkish Naval ships in the Mediterranean Sea(TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTRY/AFP via)
Nearly a century ago, fierce mediations between Turkey and Greece – who were backed by Italy, France and the British, among others – took place in a bid to demarcate modern Turkey’s borders. The arduous talks followed the end of the fourth Greco-Turkish war and resulted in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which officially ended the Ottoman Empire.

Now there is another power dance being performed in the eastern Mediterranean, over the rich gas deposits discovered there during the last few years – with the spectre of war looming in the background.

Greece, a country owns thousands of islands, is set to maximise the use of oil and natural gas within its borders. Its campaign rides on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (not signed by Turkey), which states that coastlines of inhabited islands generate continental shelves or Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) the same as any coastal land formation.

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