Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 17, 2019

The Turkish Intervention In Libya Might Lead To A War With Egypt

The Turkish President Erdogan continues to create enemies for Turkey.

After waging a war on Syria, he has managed to piss off the EU by pushing refugees towards it. He has displeased NATO and the U.S. by installing Russian air defenses. Most Arab countries at the Persian Gulf hate him for his support for Qatar.

Erdogan has allied himself with the Government of National Accord (GNA) that rules in Tripoli, Libya. He will now have to take on several additional countries which support the GNA's opponent.

After the NATO war destroyed Africa's richest country Libya is still split.


bigger

Most of the east and the south and most of the oil of the country is ruled by General Khalifa Haftar, a former CIA asset. Haftar has support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. A U.S. delegation recently visited him. Nine month ago he started a campaign to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood controlled GNA around Tripoli and Misrata.

The campaign got stuck even as each side continued to put more and better material onto the ground and into the air. Pilots flying for Haftar are allegedly from the UAE and Egypt. The GNA flies Turkish drones which are likely controlled by Turkish pilots. There are also rumors that Russian mercenaries are involved in support of Haftar.

Both sides lack well trained ground troops in sufficient numbers. At the end of November Erdogan offered a rather curious agreement to the GNA. In exchange for troops from Turkey the GNA would have to agree to a common maritime border between Libya and Turkey.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the GNA, agreed. That resulted in this curious map.


bigger

Erdogan then claimed that Turkey has the sole right to economically explore the Mediterranean Sea north of the red and yellow line. He also said that pipelines laid through that area would need Turkish agreement. Egypt, Israel and Cyprus had planned a gas pipeline between their sub sea gas explorations and Greece. (That pipeline is likely a pipe dream as there is too little gas for sale to justify the large investment.)

There have already been intense spats between Cyprus, Israel and Turkey over Turkish drill ships which, accompanied by the Turkish Navy, intruded into Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.

Nautical borders in areas of multiple states can not be drawn unilaterally or by just two parties. The area Erdogan claims is to a large part also claimed by Cyprus and Greece which both have better arguments for legal rights in the area than Turkey.


Source: Petroleum Economist - bigger

There is another legal problem. The Sikhirat agreement, which was signed in December 2015 under UN auspices and is the legal basis for the GNA, does not give GNA head Sarraj any right to make such an agreement and concession.

The conflict over exclusive economic rights in certain areas can probably be solved at the UN or through international courts. The military part of Erdogan's deal is the real danger:

The deal offers Turkish support for the establishment of a Quick Reaction Force for police and military in Libya, as well as enhanced cooperation in intelligence and in the defense industry. Following the military cooperation deal, Erdoğan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Libyan government requested military assistance.

A week ago Erdogan said that he was ready to deploy troops to Libya on short notice. Today rumors appeared in Arab media, still unconfirmed, that Turkish special operations forces landed in Tripoli.

The Libyan war between two Libyan parties will now become a very different beast. Egypt will not tolerate a Muslim Brotherhood led Libya as its neighbor. Egypt will intervene before the Turkish support allows the GNA government to defeat Haftar. The situation could then develop into an intense war during which Turkish troops fight on Libyan grounds against the Egyptian military.

Both countries have rich Arab sponsors who can finance a long and intense conflict. Both have lots of matériel and many many soldiers they can throw into the fight. The Egyptian side has one advantage. Its long land border allows for easy resupply while Turkey will have to rely on supplies that come by sea and air and can be cut off or at least interrupted.

Such a war could easily become the major international crisis of 2020.

Posted by b on December 17, 2019 at 18:53 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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@ ADKC | Dec 18 2019 23:19 utc | 101

In all fairness, my insistently repetitive use of the word "fair" is a bit poking fun at your invocation of fairness in your argumentation for the Turkish point of view.

I repeat that fairness is not the primary criterium for settling international disputes. It comes down to either a matching of brute forces or a judgement under international law. Ideally, law should be fair, but it has to be applied as law, not as fairness.

The current situation is that Turkey blatantly disregards international law, for example in the case of Cyprus. No country but Turkey recognizes North Cyprus as an independent state. De iure, Turkey has occupied a part of the sovereign nation of Cyprus. The only reason, I suspect, why they got away with it is their geostrategic importance to NATO at the time. Since Erdogan has been burning so many bridges, that looking the other way could end sooner than he reckons. Erdogan may be playing higher stakes than he can put up for.

@ Piotr Berman | Dec 18 2019 23:22 utc | 102

I am terribly sorry for not checking the link when previewing, here is the verified to be correctly working link.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 18 2019 23:55 utc | 101

Erlinder @104

There are no recognised EEZs in the Mediterranean there are only claims that are disputed. If there is no recognised EEZ then they cannot be enforced.

For Greece to obtain a legally recognised EEZ they would have to get the agreement of Turkey.

The Group (Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and the US) know they can't achieve a recognised EEZ but, regardless, they determined to go ahead with drilling and a pipeline, with the intention of excluding Turkey (and a number of other countries).

Turkey responded by doing its own drilling and with the "Turkey/Libyan Maritime Zone" to block the pipeline.

You say that Turkey has no legal right to do this but neither does The Group have any legal right to do what they did.

EEZs are not really something were a court rules for one party who get everything they want and the other party gets nothing - discussion, compromise and an agreement process is involved.

The UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) would probably be the place where EEZ disputes would be resolved. There are only 3 resolved disputes on record. The most recent resolved dispute was in 2009 and involved Romania and Ukraine in a dispute over Snake Island (in the Black Sea). This is the judgement (from Wikipedia):

"On February 3, 2009, the ICJ delivered its judgment, which divided the sea area of the Black Sea along a line which was between the claims of each country. The Court invoked the disproportionality test in adjudicating the dispute, noting that the ICJ, "as its jurisprudence has indicated, it may on occasion decide not to take account of very small islands or decide not to give them their full potential entitlement to maritime zones, should such an approach have a disproportionate effect on the delimitation line under consideration" and owing to a previous agreement between Ukraine and Romania, the island "should have no effect on the delimitation in this case, other than that stemming from the role of the 12-nautical-mile arc of its territorial sea" previously agreed between the parties."

This judgement (the case of Snake Island under the administration of Ukraine) indicates that Turkey's position has merit with regard to the Turkish and Greek EEZ's and the effect of the island of Kastellorizo (11.98 km2 - Pop: 492) but Snake Island is much smaller (0.17 km2 - Pop: 100). Nonetheless, I cannot see the ICJ not awarding Turkey a significant proportion of what they are seeking (but who am I to say?).

You might, perhaps, begin to feel that you may have been misled as to the legal indisputably and achievability of the Greek EEZ in both it's current status and its likely (future legally recognised) extent.

Turkey and Greece have to talk, compromise and agree on the EEZs - that's really only what the ICJ would get them to do anyway.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 19 2019 1:15 utc | 102

@108

This is incorrect. Drilling has been going on south of Cyprus, when no Turkish claim makes any sense. Greece hasn't started drilling in any disputed waters. It is Turkey that has repeatedly sent its drilling boats near Cyprus or east of Crete.

Posted by: s | Dec 19 2019 2:03 utc | 103

Russia doesn't need the resources in question. The US and China need them. Hmm...

Posted by: blues | Dec 19 2019 4:41 utc | 104

How sad to see the rancour developing around flankerbandit.

Flankerbandit - when you go on a rant you upset the equilibrium that holds this site together.

My experience at MOA has been that people are entitled to hold an opinion rightly or wrongly - we don't persevere in nailing someone to the wall for their opinions. The way the guy who runs the site proceeds is to "educate" people in their opinions by producing exceptional journalism - the best on the net - bar none,

some advice flankerbandit from an oldtimer - educate in your political views the same way you educate in your technical posts. this is a broad church with some incredibly inciteful people on board. I know they respect your technical input but you have to convince many of them you are a stable influence that adds real value to this site in the mid-term.

Posted by: martin | Dec 19 2019 12:34 utc | 105

s @110

Nothing I said @108 is inaccurate. You misunderstand what is being discussed which is ICJ determination on EEZs, the process the ICJ are likely to through and the implication for Turkish and Greek EEZs (if they wish to get EEZs recognised) based on a resolved dispute concerning an Island.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 19 2019 13:57 utc | 106

@ASKC
A simple question for you, why does Turkey not recognise the Republic of Cyprus?

Posted by: Apostoli | Dec 19 2019 14:28 utc | 107

Aspostoli @116

You assume, incorrectly, that I agree with the partition of Cyprus. I was alive at the time and I remember the reports of the fighting when Turkey occupied the North of the Island.

I supported the view that Cyprus should be independent of Britain but the aim/idea/spectre of Enosis (union with Grrece) was the cancer that has had since blighted Cyprus and has jeopardized its integrity.

In 1960 Cyprus became a Republic but there continued to be problems between Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

Then in 1974 there was the a military coup in Greece which had an aim of uniting Cyprus with Greece. Turkey took pre-emptive action and invaded Cyprus to prevent this.

Talks about reuniting Cyprus in 2017 looked very promising and it is the Greek Cypriot side that is largely considered to be at fault for collapsing those talks.

Now, in 2019, we see Cyprus linking up with Greece (as well as Israel, Egypt and the US) to marginalise and exclude Turkey; while this might be a great wheeze to grab resources, it is very detrimental in terms of achieving the re-unification of Cyprus.

Greece has leveraged its islands to claim practically the whole of the Aegean and large swathes of the Mediterranean. Should Enosis be achieved then Greece will claim even more of the Mediterranean - consider how this looks from Turkey's view.

Greece using it's islands to claim large amounts of the Mediterranean, the spectre of Enosis and recent machinations of Greek and Cyprus in linking up as part of The Group to marginalise Turkey cannot work in favour of Cypriot reunification.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 19 2019 15:28 utc | 108

It is funny reading the comments here and seeing the turkish government trolls pushing up Erdogan propaganda hardcore....

A few points that should clear things up:

1) Turkey and Erdogan are behind the Muslim Brotherhood, alongside their Qatar financiers. I thought this was well known, but apparently many people don't know this. Muslim Brotherhood=Erdogan. You can't have one without the other.

2) The reason Greece (i am Greek in case you are wondering) and others are grouping against Turkey is not for oil or gas. Those are important but the real reason is the threat of the New Ottoman Empire Erdogan wants to establish for himself. He has stated this fact many times in the past, his partners and government officials also, and they have written books about it.... It is their goal, to destroy all nations like Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, EVERYONE, and reclaim the land for the Turks and Islam.

3) Turkish trolls like to pretend that Greece will be alone in case of conflict, but they are delusional. Setting aside any official defensive pacts like the one between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel, that are in effect, do you really think any one, ANYONE, wants a huge and powerful Ottoman Empire ruled by fanatical Muslims? Be serious. Russia doesn't want it, US don't want it, EU doesn't want it. Every single country and people in the Middle East and East Mediterranean will unite with us Greeks in case of war, because they know that if Greece falls, they will be next in line. Do you think there will be a Greece vs Turkey war and Kurds will stand aside doing nothing? Syrians will do nothing? Armenians will do nothing? You seriously believe that? I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you...

4)Turkish trolls and other naive people think that Greece and Israel can't have a war because our economies would crumble. And we are supposed to believe that the Turkish economy can withstand war? Again, i have to ask, are you serious? You don't seem to realise the very poor state the economy of Turkey is currently.... And they are being proped up be German and other European investments for cheap manufacturing and exporting, you think Turkish economy can withstand war? You are delusional. Greece can withstand war for years, same with Israel, it is Turkey who can't.

5) The main problem with Erdogan is that he has forced himself into a corner. His economy is shit, the people soon are going to clamour for his head on a pike. So he has to appear aggressive in order to stay in power. Problem is, his political opponents are even more nationalistic and he can't back down because they will make him seem like a traitor, lol.

6) Remember Poland in 1939. The allies lead Hitler to believe that they would allow him to annex Poland, since the german people had "rights" at their land (same as the so called "rights" turkey has on the maritime zone), and when that moron invaded, they sprang the trap. which lead to the destruction of Germany, the deaths of millions of Germans and the rape of millions of German women.... It will happen again, with Greece this time. Mark my words.

Posted by: TemplarGR | Dec 19 2019 16:36 utc | 109

The stuck-in-2016 mentality people have toward Turkey - notably people among the 'Syria solidarity crowd' has become extremely jarring in terms of keeping analyses of geopolitics in the region up to speed. Not referring to MoA here, but I think starting off with 'Erdogan is creating more enemies for Turkey' part is unfair.

He along with the GNA is countering the EastMed alliance of Israel-Cyprus-Greece-Egypt which seeks to make a long, expensive, exclude-Turkey-despite-Turkey-providing-the-shortest-most-efficient-route to Europe gas pipeline. It'd threaten Turkey's already long term established goal of being an energy trade hub.

Erdogan with the GNA has signed an agreement to demarcate their maritime border which basically cuts thru the EastMed Gas Pipeline's route, and the pipeline was already slated to pass through EEZs that are disputed between Greece and Cyprus and Turkey.

He's following the national interest. By the way, for a multitude of reasons that I won't go into in this comment, Iran's been reported sending weapons to the GNA too. Wonder what the whole 'Turkey will always be evil because it supported ISIS vs Assad' crowd will make of that? https://southfront.org/iranian-made-anti-tank-missile-spotted-with-gna-forces-in-libya/

Posted by: Agha Hussain | Dec 19 2019 17:40 utc | 110

TemplarGR @109

Your post is just a xenophobic, hateful post. It is noticeable that you cannot deal with the issue at hand without:

1. Demonising Turkey.

2. Glorifying Greece and Israel - and give more credence to the view that this pipeline is essentially an Israeli project.

3. Conjuring up apocalyptic visions where you appear to describe an outcome where Turkey will overplay its hand and this will result in the millions of Turkish deaths and the rape of Turkish women (or do you imagine that is the fate that will befall Greece? It really is hard to tell what you mean).

You believe that Greece and Israel have strong enough economies that they could withstand wars for years but this is only true if they are bankrolled by the US and the West. And, for there to be a war, somebody actually has to start it and Turkey blocking a pipeline is not starting a war. So, if you want a war, Greece (or some other patsy) will have to sink a Turkish ship and then Greece would be the aggressor that started a war! Common sense tells you this is going to be good for Greece).

You dismiss any alternative view as being that of Turkish Trolls. I think on this thread, I have been one of the most prominent contributors, but I am not Turkish and I am not Muslim, I do not work or volunteer for any Turkish group and have no particular sympathy for Erdogan and Turkey. I do, however, recognise when people are pushing easy xenophobic demonisation and refusing even to understand Turkey's viewpoint.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 19 2019 18:40 utc | 111

@ ADKC

You said

The Group (Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and the US) know they can't achieve a recognised EEZ but, regardless, they determined to go ahead with drilling and a pipeline, with the intention of excluding Turkey (and a number of other countries).

I responded that this is incorrect. Yes, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus have done drilling away from any disputed waters. Greece hasn't done any drilling for oil. Areas identified as promising lie away from disputed waters. It's Turkey that has repeatedly sent drilling ships in disputed waters.

I somewhat agree with you about the difficulty of solving the EEZ issue. But even if one assumes that Kastellorizo is given no consideration in setting EEZ, Turkey's EEZ won't connect with Libya's. That's just a pipe dream, using b's words.

Let me also say that you got the history of Cyprus wrong. The CIA-supported Greek coup was in 1967, and they instigated the overthrow of Cypriot leader Makarios in 1974 which Turkey found as a convenient excuse to intervene. The Annan plan for reunification of the island was in 2004.

Posted by: s | Dec 19 2019 18:58 utc | 112

s @112

With regard to my post @102 (previously @108) you are just splitting hairs. What I said was accurate. I am talking about the recognition of EEZ which Turkey, Greece and Cyprus do not have. The term you use "undisputed waters" is entirely irrelevant to the discussion that I was having which was about the ICJ and obtaining recognition of EEZ. Cyprus does not a recognised EEZ. it has a claim.

As you point out I was incorrect in details about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. It would have been much correct if I said:

"The Greek military junta organised a coup d'etat in Cyprus in 1974. If successful this would have led to Enosis (Cyprus unifying with Greece). Turkey invaded to prevent this."

This was a Greek intervention in Cyprus and Turkey responded by intervening. It really doesn't make any difference to the point I was making.

Wasn't their also some expectation from Greece that the US would support their takeover of Cyprus and that the US would prevent a Turkish landing? Wasn't Paul Ioannidis meant to have shouted at Joseph J. Sisco, US Assistant Secretary of State: "You betrayed us! You had assured us that you would prevent any Turkish landing"?

Doesn't this indicate that Greece knew Turkey would be concerned and would be likely to intervene? Isn't it inaccurate of you to portray this as "a convenient excuse to intervene" because that implies Turkey had no legitimate concerns and that Greece had no expectation of Turkish involvement if the Cypriot government was overthrown and that, patently, was not the case!

(It is also worth drawing parallels to 1974 when Greece expected the US to back them up and today when Greece is also expecting that the US, Israel and Egypt will back them up. Does Greece really expect that they will be supported if they sink a Turkish ship?)

But all this was 50 years ago. Of more relevance is why the Greek Cypriot appeared to collapse the 2017 reunification talks. And why, in 2019, do they suddenly want to resume those talks "exactly where they left off" which appears opportunistic, to say the least, especially when relations with Turkey have deteriorated so markedly.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 19 2019 20:21 utc | 113

"BREAKING: it's now official:

"GNA has requested Turkish military intervention against Egypt/UAE backed LNA."

And as soon as that occurred, Syria resumed its Idlib Dawn offensive and Iraq began targeting Daesh elements around Deir Ezzor, and the formation of a large military contingent of Eastern Syrian Arabs with Russia was announced.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 19 2019 20:40 utc | 114

@ ADKC

Quite the contrary: Greece was told by the US to stand down.
Also see this which goes against your theory of a grand conspiracy involving US and Greece against Turkey.

The rest of your speculation doesn't have anything to do with reality. Cyprus cannot accept many thousands of settlers and Turkish troups on the island, so as long as the Turkish side insists on this, there won't be a solution.

Posted by: s | Dec 19 2019 21:27 utc | 115

Below is a recent ZH posting and I will provide a take away quote

Turkey To Establish Military Base In Libya As Egypt Threatens Its Own Intervention

The take away quote
"
On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi warned in the wake of the Turkey-Libya agreement, "We will not allow anyone to control Libya... it is a matter of Egyptian national security."
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 19 2019 21:39 utc | 116

@ADKC | Dec 19 2019 20:21 utc | 113

Well, Cyprus has EEZ deals with Egypt, Lebanon and (I think) Israel. The deals are south and east of the island and have nothing to do with the best case legal Turkish claims. The only way the Turkish side can make the claims in the map you linked earlier, is only if Cyprus does not have an EEZ because it is an island.

You are constantly dodging this issue. Do islands get no EEZ, as Turkey claims?

In the case of Cyprus, Turkish claims go well against the criterion of "fairness" you constantly bring up and border bulling.

Posted by: Erlindur | Dec 19 2019 21:49 utc | 117

I am really amazed by the immaculate analysis and sound/rational responses by ADKC but also equally amazed by the lack of common sense and nonsensical ravings of those trying to negate those solid and logical arguments(official Greek trolls?). Seems like the Greek government may have been acting similarly all along which would perhaps explain why there has been no peace agreement in Cyprus for over 50 years.

Posted by: Matthiew | Dec 19 2019 21:54 utc | 118

@ Erlindur

Agreed. Islands do get EEZ as the case of Libya vs Malta illustrates.

I'm not a lawyer but my sense after reading some of the relevant literature is that if this were to go to the ICJ, Cyprus EEZ claims would be upheld, and Greece's EEZ claims would also be supported except in the case of Kastellorizo.

Posted by: s | Dec 19 2019 22:19 utc | 119

s @115

The linked article that you provided does not prove what you claim. The document refers to a record of a discussion between Kissinger and US President Ford on 18th, 19th or 20th July 1974 where Kissinger is advising that the US should back Turkey. This conversation took place after the Cyprus Coup d'etat (15th July 1974) and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (20th July), and before the Turkish second wave of 21st July) and the Greek Military Junta collapse (23rd July).

The Greek military coup was controlled, sponsored and supported by the CIA. The Greek Military Junta believed they had the support of the US in overthrowing the government of Cyprus. How plausible is it really that the CIA sponsored Greek Military Junta would not have ensured they had the backing of the US before they launched their coup d'etat in Cyprus?

Some points that torpedo your position:

1. The Greek Military Junta supported the far-right EOKA-B group against Makarios.

2. The CIA had contributed financially to anti-Makarios and anti-communist elements in both Greece and Cyprus.

3. Between 1971 and 1974, five plans were prepared by the Greek government to overthrow Makarios' government.

4. Dimitrios Ioannidis, the real leader of the Greek Military Junta, believed that Makarios was no longer a true supporter of enosis, and suspected him of being a communist sympathizer.

5. On 2nd July 1974, Makarios wrote an open letter to the Greek President complaining that 'cadres of the Greek military regime support and direct the activities of the 'EOKA-B' terrorist organisation'. Knowingly or not, Makarios exposed the preparations for the coup to the whole world and probably accelerated its execution.

6. It was Dimitrios Ioannidis (not Paul Ioannidis as I mistakenly said @113) who is reported to have angrily shouted at Joseph J. Sisco, US Assistant Secretary of State "You betrayed us! You had assured us that you would prevent any Turkish landing"

7. The Greek Military Junta failed to assassinate Markarios and he escaped (it was probably this failure that meant that the US could not support the coup).

And what sounds a lot like reprisals and revenge for betrayal or for being linked to the Military Junta:-

8. On 19th Aug 1974 Us Ambassador was assassinated in Nicosia - believed to be carried out by an EOKA sniper (reprisal for betrayal).

9. Richard Welch, CIA Station Chief was assassinated on 23rd December by Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N); this was 17N's first and defining attack. Other assassinations followed. 17N were left-wing and specifically opposed to the Military Junta (revenge for being linked with the Military Junta).

10. 17N communiques announced that it wanted to rid Greece of U.S. bases, to remove the Turkish military from Cyprus, and to sever Greece's ties to NATO and the European Union (revenge for being linked with the Military Junta).

The evidence indicates that it is much more plausible and much more believable, that the Greek Military Junta did get the backing of the US before they launched their coup d'etat in Cyprus and that they were betrayed by the US who decided to back Turkey when it was far too late for the Greek Military Junta to backtrack.

----

As regards the Turkish troops and settlers. As part of any reunification Cyprus will have to accept Turkish troop presence - in my view, this is something that can be reduced as confidence grows over time. The removal of all foreign forces seems to me to be the basis on which both sides can reach an agreement.

The position of the dispossessed and settlers need to be addressed and both need to be treated fairly. There are also many foreign nationals (e.g. from Western Europe) that have purchased property in Northern Cyprus including western politicians - so it is a tactical mistake to treat this issue too simply. Compensation and restitution should be guiding principles here.

But you can't make any progress if you are not talking and it was the Greek Cypriot side that collapsed the 2017 talks and it is the Greek Cypriot President who has now cynically called for the restarting of those talks at a time of difficulty with Turkey and has used this call (to restart talks) to attack Turkey. It seems to me that the Greek President is calling for a restart of talks "exactly where they left off" in a way that he hopes will lead the Turkish Cypriot government to reject the request.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 1:17 utc | 120

Erlindur @117

EEZ "deals" are not "legally" recognised EEZ they are just carve-ups or situations where there is no other party with an interest.

I have addressed the issue of islands in my post @102 I don't see what difficulty you have with that post. I am not supporting or opposing any of the EEZ claims - I am merely pointing out that they are just "claims"; that it is not as clear-cut and straightforward as you believe and that EEZs can only really be established if all parties talk, compromise and agree.

It is generally understood that the Mediterranean Sea with its concave shape complicates EEZ to a significant extent.

I have also pointed to The Black Sea as a model which would help reach agreements.

I have also said that I believe all countries around The Mediterranean Sea should be involved; it is noticeable that weaker Nations have been excluded and are not in a position to assert their claims (this will change as and when they recover strength).

If you don't wish to see these difficulties, if you want to believe that Greece and Cyprus EEZs are indisputable and inviolable then that's up to you. I am merely pointing out that you are mistaken (and this does not mean that I think Turkey's position is indisputable and inviolable either).

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 1:37 utc | 121

s @117

"...and Greece's EEZ claims would also be supported except in the case of Kastellorizo."

And, if this was accepted, this would mean that plans of The Group (Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and the US) would be scuppered because they are relying on Kastellorizo to justify the Greek EEZ.

(Realistically, the Cyprus EEZ can never really progress until reunification is achieved.)

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 1:53 utc | 122

Matthiew @118

Please, Matthiew, these people are not Greek trolls. Greece just gets much more sympathy and has much better press. The Turkish position is not really heard much and consequently not really understood - it tends to be immediately discounted.

Greeks and Turks have to come together and talk and not allow other Nations to come between them.

Greece is in great danger of being encouraged by the rest of The Group (Israel, Egypt, Cyrpus and the US) to take some rash action (such as sinking a Turkish ship with significant loss of life). I believe that this would be a foolish move but doubly so for Greece because the support of The Group would evaporate and Greece would be left on its own having carried out an act of aggression against Turkey.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 2:09 utc | 123

Aga Hussain @110 has written an article with Whitney Web that is worth readings and has some relevance to this thread.

The Israel Lobby’s Hidden Hand in the Theft of Iraqi and Syrian Oil

The issue of relevance is that is all about grabbing resources in the Mediterranean area and the involvement of Israel.

Aga Hussain's website

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 2:23 utc | 124

Historically, the ethnic cleansing in the Eastern Med has been by Turks.
In the Roman and Byzantine era, there were many Greeks and Greek colonies on the east side of the Bosphorus. Not so much anymore.
Equally, while Cyprus was a part of the Ottoman empire - it was by conquest.
Of course, the UK control over Cyprus equally by conquest: victory in World War 1.
What really matters now is the Erdogan has been openly challenging the stalemate - and there seems to be no UN, EU or US pushback to a visible degree.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 20 2019 3:59 utc | 125

@ ADKC

It's true that without Kastellorizo, the Greek and Cypriot EEZ would not meet. On the other hand, the Egypt EEZ would still meet them both and the detour adds little extra length to a pipeline.

Posted by: s | Dec 20 2019 13:57 utc | 126

@ADKC | Dec 20 2019 1:37 utc | 121

Well, "deals" or agreements between States with opposite or adjacent coasts is how you legally establish EEZs in the civilized world, as defined by UNCLOS, Article 74. You can go to ICJ if you cannot reach an agreement. So, Cyprus has established EEZ in areas that don’t concern Turkey.

Unless of course your argument is that there is no EEZ until you solve your disputes with all your neighbors. In that case, the Turkish-Libyan agreement has no effect as well, since Turkey by the same logic cannot have an EEZ until it settles it’s disputes with everybody else as well.

As for the pipeline, I tend to agree with b, that “ is likely a pipe dream as there is too little gas for sale to justify the large investment”.

For the sake of argument though, I direct you again to read UNCLOS, Article 79 (I cannot link direct articles but they are easy to find if you press the “table of contents” on the left of the page). You don’t need an EEZ to lay a pipeline. You can just whine about it if a pipeline passes through your EEZ and put a lot of obstacles on the project.

But since Israel is involved, I’m afraid that if the pipeline does proceed, the project will be carried out by an US company and probably escorted by US Navy ships. Good luck stopping that.

Posted by: Erlindur | Dec 20 2019 15:32 utc | 127

ADKC @123

You are correct.The Greek government is held hostage by the West/E.U./Israel thanks to their huge debt, dependency on Euro and economic situation in large. Seems like Greece is being used as a perfect patsy for the regional ambitions of Israel/E.U and there is not much that the Greek can do about it. Some cool heads in Greece may prevail (hoping there are some left), but the current situation indicates that things may get worse before it gets better. As for Greece attacking a Turkish naval vehicle, I am not so sure about it, as it will result in Turkey's immediate retaliation. First target will definitely be the little island of Kastellorizo which will be occupied by Turkey and Greece will lose its EEZ claims right away. I don't think that Greece can do much militarily against Turkey which is a giant both in terms of population and military compared to Greece. Should events fold like this, both countries will eventually get into the table (without a larger military conflict) and the settlement of the dispute will drag on forever like it did in Cyprus.

Posted by: Matthiew | Dec 20 2019 18:43 utc | 128

@ Matthiew

The Turkish navy has made great progress in recent years but is not a "giant" when compared with the Hellenic Navy. See this for example.

Posted by: s | Dec 20 2019 19:35 utc | 129

Erlindur @127

"Unless of course your argument is that there is no EEZ until you solve your disputes with all your neighbours. In that case, the Turkish-Libyan agreement has no effect as well, since Turkey by the same logic cannot have an EEZ until it settles it's disputes with everybody else as well."

Yes, that would be how I see it.

"But since Israel is involved, I’m afraid that if the pipeline does proceed, the project will be carried out by an US company and probably escorted by US Navy ships. Good luck stopping that."

Turkey can delay the pipeline, Turkey can keep on damaging the pipeline when no one's looking, US can guard the pipeline continuously forever but this would be expensive. As long as the EEZs are not agreed Turkey will also have a claim on the pipeline (gas transit fees).

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 20 2019 20:02 utc | 130

s @129

The main difference is that today Turkey is building most of its ships and warfare/navigation electronics, missile launch systems, missiles (like Atmaca), submarines and much more by itself at own shipyards (lots of resources on internet/youtube about this). Even some or part of the engines are build in Turkey. Currently the navy's modern equipment, vessels etc. are almost 70% Turkish made and the aim is to increase this to 100% by 2030. On contrary, the defense industry is almost non-existent in Greece.Greece buys almost every military item from abroad and creates more debt for its already suffering economy. In my opinion, this is the big difference. With this rate of progress, Turkey will soon be completely self-sufficient and will be able to sustain a prolonged war without foreign dependence. I would estimate that within a decade Turkish navy will be multiple times stronger and uptodate compared to Greek Navy. This fact will deter any aggressor and probably enable the Greek side to be more reasonable on the negotiation table. Today the old rule still applies. Like in the old days of the wild west, when you play poker, it is best to put your gun on the table . No one around the table dares to cheat. After all guns are primarily tools of deterrence.

Posted by: Matthiew | Dec 20 2019 21:09 utc | 131

Wouldn't it be fun if Turkey invoked NATO article 5 against Egypt?

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Dec 23 2019 17:15 utc | 132


Damascus did not invite Turkey. Turkey attacked Syria and now occupies Syrian territory and is busy ethically cleansing the occupied areas. She did the same in Cyprus where she completed ethnic cleansing and has 40000 troops sitting on their bayonets.
Nobody bars Turkey from the Med. she bars herself by refusing to enter into delimitation talks with its neighbours as have Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and Lebanon based on the 1982 Law of the Sea . LOS is now conventional international law. LOS is the rules of the game. What is Turkey’s problem? She does nor like to play by the rules. She wants to impose her own rules.She calls then "Ottoman slaps".
Turkey wants to act as a hegemon in the Med. It won’t go. Ever since 1648 states align against hegemony. They do not like hegemons. Mily.

Posted by: Mily | Dec 25 2019 19:42 utc | 133

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