Possibilities of military rattling between two historic rivals Turkey and Greece are anticipated to be escalating after Turkey sent research vessels and small navy armada into an area of east Mediterranean sea which Greece claims as its own.

After the announcement by Turkey about conducting military exercises near its town Iskenderun, northeast of Cyprus, came to its prominence, Greece, involving Cyprus, France and Italy, agreed to deploy joint military presence with a framework of Quadripartite Cooperation Initiative (QUAD).

An abundant amount of hydrocarbons containing 5765 billion cubic metres of gas in Levantine Basin have pushed Turkey to go for its drilling. However, the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) as defined by international law, imprison and deprive Turkey inside its own shores to access possibly available deposits between Crete and Cyprus, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Therefore, in an attempt to protect her interests in the Mediterranean, Ankara signed a maritime delimitation agreement with the UN-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli aiming at changing the boundaries of the exclusive economic zones.

Countering the Turkish manoeuvres, Greece in turn signed a similar deal with Egypt at the beginning of August. The agreement allows the two countries “to move forward, each taking maximum advantage of the resources available in the EEZ, including oil and gas reserves. According to the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the Mediterranean is swarmed by military fleets of Greece and Turkey, yet the intensity of any actual military altercation is quite rare.

Moreover, amid rising tensions between Turkey and Greece over their claims to hydrocarbon resources in eastern Mediterranean, UAE has sent four F-16 warplanes to Greece Island of Create to take part in drills with Hellenic Air Force, reported by Jerusalem Post. UAEs alignment with Greece for military drills against Turkey at this critical time does not exhibit a good omen Turkey has also threatened to shoot down UAE jets if tensions escalate in the Mediterranean.

Nevertheless, It is not the first-ever military adventure between Greece and Turkey, rather both of them had already come to bloody confrontation over their respective claims on an Island Cyprus in the Mediterranean on 20 July to 18 August 1974. Moreover, Greece and Turkey came closer to war in 1996 over two uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea and have been fighting for decades over the extent of their respective territorial waters. They have also confronted each other in the First World War from 1914 to 1918.

As the 100 years old Treaty Of Lausanne is approaching fast to be consummated on 24 July 2023, signed on 24 July 1923, Turkish Government has started to pursue much more assertive foreign policy which somehow can be linked to the resurgence of Ottoman Empire, urging Recep Tayyip Erdogan to expand political influence and geographical horizons across Europe. However, the eastern Mediterranean is a geopolitical game board right now where various players are being converged for the pursuit of their personal interests and not shying away from using gunboat diplomacy. Turkey is all set to develop its ascending power rhetoric, playing its cards to get what it wants, explicitly a fair distribution of energy revenues and a just settlement of maritime jurisdiction areas.

WASEEM SHABBIR,

Gujranwala.