European Leadership Network (ELNET) strongly backs the EU repeated statements rebuffing Turkey’s moves to carry out gas explorations in the East Mediterranean, defining them as “illegal.” Turkey’s plans in the East Mediterranean were recently propped by a highly disputed maritime agreement (November 27, 2019) with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), dividing Mediterranean waters between them, which was completely rejected by almost all other Mediterranean stakeholders. Turkey’s moves not only violate internationally recognized Cypriot sovereignty and sovereign rights, but also threaten to destabilize the sensitive area of the East Mediterranean.
ELNET encourages the EU to actively support the existing East Mediterranean frameworks in which EU members participate and which were designed to enhance cooperation among Mediterranean states and between them and Europe, and provide Europe which much needed East Med energy resources. These frameworks include a recently signed agreement (January 2, 2020) between Israel, Cyprus and Greece to lay a pipeline that will provide gas from Israel and Cyprus to Europe through Italy, and the Egyptian- led East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in which Cyprus, Greece and Italy are members, France seeks to join as a member and the US wants to become a permanent observer.
The EU is well warranted to clarify to Turkey, not only in words but also in deeds, that it cannot continue to unabatingly pursue destabilizing policies such as forcibly meddling in the Mediterranean, pouring fuel on the fire in Libya and Syria, supporting extreme Islamist actors, threatening Europe to flood it with refuges, and undermining the interests of NATO in which it is a member.