Conflict in eastern Mediterranean comes to a head

Turkey continues to escalate the situation in the Mediterranean and runs the risk of open conflict among allies.

Turkey's ambitions to gain access to natural gas deposits off the coast of the Greek islands are becoming increasingly threatening. Accompanied by five Turkish frigates, the Turkish drilling ship "Oruc Reis" continues its soundings south of the coast of Rhodes and Kastellorizo. Greek media reported a dangerous development between the ships on Thursday as there was a side collision between a Greek and a Turkish frigate. Others reported that a Greek frigate touched one of the escort ships of the "Oruc Reis" laterally. However, the reports from Athens were initially neither confirmed nor denied.

The president of the Turkish regime, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the opportunity to make further threats against Greece: "We told them, look, don't attack our 'Oruc Reis'. If you attack our 'Oruc Reis’ you will pay a high price. And today, they got their first reply.”.

EU Foreign Ministers discuss sanctions

The EU foreign ministers are meeting today to discuss sanctions against the Erdoğan regime. After the last Council of Ministers in July, EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell had announced the preparation of further sanctions against Turkey. Sanctions could be decided if Ankara again expanded its natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, which was considered illegal, it was said at the time. This is currently the case.

France increases troops

France is one of the more determined opponents of the Turkish regime within the EU. In support of Greece, France had the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean reinforced. Emmanuel Macron's stance stems from a fundamental conflict of interests in the Mediterranean and especially in Libya. Up to now, the EU states had only imposed entry bans and asset freezes on persons who were allegedly involved in natural gas drilling operations considered illegal off the EU state of Cyprus.

Merkel's appeasement policy

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding talks with Erdoğan to prevent sanctions. Germany is Turkey's traditional ally and is particularly interested in ensuring that the refugee deal with the dictatorship continues.