Turkey and Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean - Atahan Tümer


The Eastern Mediterranean has had high blood pressure for a long time. In particular, this debate arising from the Exclusive Economic Zone tension between Greece and Turkey in the region, causing an increase in tension from time to time. This tension, which has been on our agenda for months and is far from reaching a solution, is still not over. Even though everyone knows that this tension, which causes military friction from time to time, is on all of us's agenda, it may still be useful to mention. The crisis is emerging from the borders of the Exclusive Economic Zone. While the Greek side wants the islands to be taken into account when calculating the Exclusive Economic Zone area in violation of international law, the Turkish side firmly opposes this. When we look at the examples in the past, we see the Turkish side's claims' accuracy. In the past, similar crises were experienced between France and England in the English Channel and between Tunisia and Libya in the Mediterranean, and international law was decided in favor of the mainland countries. We see that the claims support the theses of the Turkish side. However, it cannot be said that this is well accepted in the international arena.


An example of this is that countries in the Mediterranean, such as Egypt and Israel, have made agreements with Greece. The main factor here is the political stance of the countries rather than international law. The relations between Turkey and those countries with the worst negotiate with Greece. From time to time, they behave in this way, even if they are detrimental or even if they lose from their field. This article will examine the Egypt - Greece Exclusive Economic Zone Agreement, which is an example of this, and we will discuss the latest developments.

First of all, talking about Egypt is vital to understanding the issue. Egypt and Turkey will be useless without understanding their relationship to address these issues. The decline, especially after the military coup in Turkey - Egyptian relations, can be called the main actor in this equation. Of course, the tension between the two governments was reflected in their policies. It was seen that the Qatar Crisis, the Libyan crisis, and even the countries in Syria are on opposite sides. Although interpreting together with the Libyan crisis is still a problem in both the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey's location across Egypt is quite impressive. It can even be called radical. Despite this, we have seen a softening in the relations between the two countries recently. The bilateral relations between the two countries, which started again with intelligence organizations' meetings, recently continued with foreign ministerial conferences. The two countries are moving forward in normalizing relations by gesturing to each other. For example, Egypt, Turkey lifted its veto given to attend the NATO meeting.

This brought to mind the question of whether a bilateral agreement is possible.

Egypt currently has considerable reserves in the Mediterranean and continues to work in this field. The crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean is on the agenda of both countries and possibly in Egypt. Egypt has the largest natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean. The discovery they made in 2015 discovered a reserve of 849 billion cubic meters in the region. Despite this, they continue to work in the region. Egypt aims to generate massive income from the area.

Greece sat at the table to make agreements with many countries, especially Israel and Egypt, to get their claims accepted in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, it could not find what it achieved in the agreement he made with Egypt. The reason for this was the claim that Egypt's Meis Island could not create an Exclusive Economic Zone. Egypt has supported Turkey's insistence on this point. They agreed with Greece for the western borders. This kind of proved the correctness of Turkish claims. Many around Turkey, if possible - Egypt's bilateral agreement began to be voiced Exclusive Economic Zone. But we must not forget that, in a period of tense relations with Egypt in disabling Meis Island Turkey, there is also an effect of not wanting to further increase the tension. After the agreement with Greece, this agreement was criticized by the Egyptian Parliament. A deal with Turkey was also mentioned that would provide more benefits. This is a very interesting and justified point.

Egypt recently opened a tender for a field in the Eastern Mediterranean. Suppose this area was of interest to comply with Turkey's Exclusive Economic Zone boundary. Egypt supported Turkish claims by opening the tender in this area. This incident has also been the subject of controversy in Greece. Especially in the Greek Parliament, this movement of Egypt was highly discussed. Some of these discussions were voiced concern that Egypt's rapprochement with Turkey.


Policies in the region can change very quickly. However, it should not be forgotten that states generally take care of their interests in a utilitarian way. It is evident that rational decision-making is the only way out and provides the most significant benefit. At this point, Egypt and Israel will not be surprising if a possible rapprochement with Turkey. The deal that Turkey will do with these countries will be beneficial for everyone. New incidents in this area are only a matter of time. It is quite challenging to predict what will happen here. It is likely to see unseen power balances in the region.