Who actually signed the Egypt-Greece agreement?!08 August 2020, 11.31
The strongest move made since the multiple-actor strategic showdown started in the Mediterranean basin is the deal struck between Turkey and Libya. However, "strong" needs to be elaborated on: the steps taken by countries either being game-setter steps or game-spoiler steps are indicative of the level of "quality." This deal is both!
None of the three super powers involved (two active, one silent), none of the almost a dozen coalitions – some important – including European and regional countries have been able to respond to this deal since its declaration to date.
Turkey watched on as these countries/alliances struggled, and witnessed each one of their attempts fail before long. One of the developments Ankara was waiting to happen was the push to sign a so-called maritime zone deal between Greece and Egypt. This had no potential to disable Turkey, but it intercepted the deal signed between Turkey and Libya. Thus, this meant “both at the table, but more on the ground” rather than “both at the table and on the ground.”
While it reached this point, Turkey analyzed a single question: Can “Greece and/or Egypt” realize such an agreement?
NOT ONLY THEM, THOSE BACKING THEM CAN’T REALIZE IT EITHER
Opposition groups in Turkey that heard “rumors” about the deal received the “good news” with joy. One segment that had some shame, shed “crocodile tears.” According to them, this was a step that would intercept the breakthroughs Turkey made in the region.
This political/social section failed to measure the gravity of the deal as it based Ankara’s foreign policy on keeping a tally of its rivals and counting the list one by one. They failed to see that the statements they made saying, “There are this many countries against Turkey,” and the countries are all futile. The same is in question now.
Turkey immediately showed official reaction to this deal: “The signing of the so-called maritime zones boundary deal announced today is null and void for Turkey. Our position regarding this will be brought forth on the ground and at the table.”
Despite the statement being a clear confrontation regarding where and how Ankara can solve the problem if necessary, the real message came from the “position” taken by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who held a meeting in Tripoli with the foreign ministers of Malta and Libya at the time the deal was being signed!
“Tone, protocol, attitude, body and space language” have always been important and matters that need to be followed in international relations. However, the comfortable and “it holds no value” attitude alone that was displayed by Minister Çavuşoğlu, to whom microphones were extended this time, showed that the questions in audiences’ minds were long solved.
The military deal between France and Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GACSC), French President Emmanuel Macron hastily flying to Lebanon after the explosion in Beirut and advising them the sort of country they should be instead of extending his condolences, followed by the synchronous deal struck between Greece and Egypt, in fact, show the concern with respect to the process between Turkey, Malta, and Libya being close to finalization.
HOW DID EGYPT SIGN THIS AGAINST EGYPT’S INTERESTS, WHAT DID GREECE GIVE, WHAT WAS PROMISED TO BOTH COUNTRIES?
How Egypt agreed to the deal – despite loss of maritime zones – and what concessions Greece made in return, and the matter of how and by whom both countries’ “losses” will be compensated are important.
There is general consensus over Russia, France, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “strongly encouraging” this deal. According to some commentators, Germany has contributed to this as well. The country’s recent deployment of battleships to the region, and its concerns to protect its giant investments in Libya – which were not mentioned much until today – are clues of this. Though, according to some other commentators, Berlin does not have a goal specifically concerning the East Mediterranean. It is mostly continuing to maintain its “dark horizon” policies.
However, there are the following more obvious judgements: the battle for a global showdown over the entire Mediterranean basin is ongoing. For example, Libya, which is as much Africa’s door as it is the Mediterranean’s, the U.S. military presence at the Chinese harbors in Greece and in Alexandropoli, China and the U.S. in Haifa, Israel being infuriated to the extent to pull Israel’s ear, another harbor in Beirut being wiped off the map, the East Mediterranean which is the region’s heart, and the energy conflict – which the subject of how profitable it is remains questionable – etc.
These divide among themselves as well: The West’s attitude can be described separately in terms of the EU, the U.K., and the U.S. In other words, a picture of the conflict between NATO and the EU is in the same album. In this sense, the relations between Turkey and Malta, a humble country, needs to be interpreted carefully. The pans on the scale should be filled in this manner. The rough conflict between the EU and NATO is, in fact, an EU-U.S./NATO conflict. What could the entirety of the countries on the list, which the opposition finds relief by counting in one breath, signify against the U.K.-NATO-U.S.-Turkey series?
If we were to further elaborate, while Egypt and Greece are making this deal with Russia, France and the UAE’s support, it means they are advancing towards the U.K.-NATO-U.S. position with Turkey on their target. This thus shows that Egypt and Greece have no significance at all.
It means that in the final stretch, Washington is holding Cairo by the neck, and even though Germany is under its belt, the fact that there is American military presence within and over Greece, the so-called deal will never be able to find the courage to confront Turkey.
Another entertaining point is the stance that “they do not recognize the deal between Turkey and Libya; our not recognizing the deal between Egypt and Greece is no different.” There is no point in dragging it any further: “There is no maritime boundary between the countries in question.”
Turkey is in favor of discussing matters at the table. It constantly invited the relevant countries, including Egypt and Greece. The ground, on the other hand, is manifest in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words: “If there is anybody who will dare take what’s ours, then please by all means…”
- East Med