“EUCO diaries: will the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean lead to a watershed?”, Ilke Toygür (Elcano, Spain)

EU leaders have met in Brussels to discuss many important items on external relations, including the recent tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. This neighbour, strategic ally and candidate country for accession to the EU, has been very much at odds with Greece and Cyprus over the continental shelf and the borders of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as well as with drilling rights in the region. For this reason, the Turkish dossier is back on the EU leaders’ agenda. The differences between member states make it difficult to come up with a harmonised response. Even if interdependency with Turkey is beyond debate for EU leaders, the future of relations is still to be defined. For quite some time the EU became too comfortable in this very fragile status quo but recent developments have shown once again that the situation is not sustainable for long. It is clear that Turkish-EU relations need a functioning framework. The tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean could become a watershed as the High Representative, Josep Borrell, has suggested, since they will force all sides to think creatively.

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