The European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) released its new analysis entitled “Keep your friends close and Turkey closer: EU-Turkey relations in the midst of global and regional crisis.”
The ENC Analysis of September 2020 is written by Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, ENC Managing Director and expert in Turkey and the Middle East. This paper focuses in on the discovery of five gas fields of natural gas reserves located in Cypriot, Egyptian and Israeli maritime exclusive economic zones (EEZ). A proposed underwater Eastmed Pipeline (e.g. From Cyprus through Crete to Italy) could transport future gas discoveries to Europe. An alternative option suggests also the expansion of existing (or new) regasification plants along littoral state(s) in the region. The author argues that both solutions will pose ecological and economical challenges and will interfere with non-delineated waters, which are disputed by Turkey. In addition, Ankara continues to engage in seismic and drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus and Greek islands, which has convinced littoral states that Turkey won’t accept international law if a pipeline were to be built.
As European countries gear up for the Special European Council on the 24th and 25th of September, relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey have hit rock bottom. Ankara’s decision to pull back the Oruç Reis for “maintenance” is positive, but the risk of further punitive measures against Turkey now depends on internal EU negotiations.
This article is an extended version of the author’s Commentary published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on the 22th of September, which can be read here.
The full analysis is available in the PDF version below.