Murat Yetkin writes: Turkey had already proven that it would afford any conflict for its rights in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, and it was not bluffing. There is enough proof to show that Turkey is always ready to burn the bridges if the issue is about Cyprus or the eastern Mediterranean, regardless of the government in charge.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said that the U.S. wants tighter cooperation on developing gas finds in the “strategically significant” eastern Mediterranean. Hale said hydrocarbon development would aim to “provide durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the Mediterranean."
If there is one beneficiary of the Greece-Turkey crisis, it is France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Macron has a very clear stance on backing Greece, which stands in deep contrast to Germany and the European Union Commission, both of which are hesitant to do so.
Turkey drew another rebuke from the European Union on Aug. 16 when it said its Yavuz energy drill ship would extend operations in disputed Mediterranean waters off Cyprus until mid-September. Turkey's renewed drilling plan covers a zone delineated by Cyprus and Egypt and raises tensions, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 13 that the only solution to Turkey's dispute with Greece over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean was through dialogue and negotiation, as the French armed forces ministry said it was sending two Rafale fighter jets and the naval frigate "Lafayette" to the region.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
Just as “détente” seemed to be in the cards for Turkey and Greece, things soured once more. And they soured big time.
The European Union wants to see stronger relations with Turkey, according to a statement by the bloc following a meeting on Aug. 6 between Turkey’s top diplomat and the EU’s foreign policy chief. “Turkey is an important partner for the European Union," the office of EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a written statement.
The Istanbul Convention may become the new rupture point between the European Union and Turkey. Gender rights are just starting to be a battleground in Turkey, Poland and beyond.
The seismic research vessel Oruç Reis is now parked inside the port of Antalya. The magic behind the rapprochement is named “Merkel” — but the recent spike of the Euro (and the U.S. dollar) vis-à-vis the Turkish lira may have to do with the sudden change of hearts in Ankara.
The European Union has updated its list of "safe countries" from which non-essential travel is allowed. The bloc has again excluded Turkey from the list. This also means that EU citizens who travel to Turkey will be placed under quarantine for 14 days when they go back to their country.
Turkey on July 14 rejected EU condemnations of its decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. “Turkey rejects the words of condemnation used by the EU for turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. Greece, meanwhile, described Turkey's Hagia Sophia decision as "unnecessary and petty."
Ankara wants to play the “Leader of the Muslim world card” — but there is more to Hagia Sophia’s conversion than just that. Just like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “West Bank annexation” policy, Ankara banks on the strategy of “creating an international problem to overshadow debating domestic grievances and making national politics dependent on the existing government through isolation” strategy.
EU foreign ministers condemned the Turkish government's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque and called on Ankara "to urgently reconsider and reverse this decision." “This decision will inevitably fuel the mistrust, promote renewed division between religious communities and undermine our efforts at dialog and cooperation,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on July 13.
A German politician has called for ending the accession talks between the European Union and Turkey following Ankara's decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. "We should have the courage to end the EU accession negotiations with Turkey," Florian Hahn said.