At the core of the Eastern Mediterranean conflict is the increasing competition between Greece and the Republic of Cyprus on one side and Turkey on the other, in relation to the ability to determine exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Turkey’s foreign policy has become much more assertive and even aggressive in recent years, evolving from determined diplomatic efforts to safeguard key national interests to power projection and the use of military force. The current Eastern Mediterranean conflict has become part of a much wider regional power struggle extending from EU member states to Turkey and several Middle Eastern states, especially Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey’s most recent diplomatic openings and softening of rhetoric seem more like short-term tactics in preparation for the March 2021 EU Council meeting and the expected change in Turkey-US relations due to the new Biden administration. The Biden administration and the EU are poised to start filling the alleged power vacuum in the Eastern Mediterranean. For the current Turkish leadership, this new situation is unwelcome, and the country remains determined to push its own agenda.
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