Berlin – Tension in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Way Out

25 September 2020

ESI’s Gerald Knaus participated in an online seminar organised by the German Marshall Fund on the “Tension in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Way Out”.

In recent months, we have witnessed a significant increase in tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece. They found themselves on the brink of war over territory after almost one hundred years. The current confrontation between the two countries is centred on a long-standing disagreement over territorial boundaries in the Aegean Sea and wider Mediterranean Sea. There is also the Cyprus issue, which has remained unresolved and constitutes another source of tension in the region. This recent tension triggered with the increasing naval manoeuvres could provoke a conflict which will have consequences throughout the region. Who can effectively play the intermediary role between the two countries to decrease the tension and bring them to the negotiation table? The EU? The United States or Germany? What are the other resolution mechanisms that can be used to resolve these problems? The discussion aimed at finding new ideas and suggestions for the de-escalation and resolution of this territorial conflict.

Gerald participated in a discussion panel together with Michael Leigh (Senior Fellow, Bruegel, Academic Director, Master of Arts in European Public Policy), Nathalie Tocci (Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali) who moderated the discussion and Ian Lesser (Vice President, Foreign Policy, Executive Director, Brussels, The German Marshall Fund of the United States).

Gerald referred to the tense relations between Greece and Turkey and the effects this has had on migration, the EU and NATO. Furthermore, he addressed the delimitation of disputed waters, the exploration of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and the need to continue seeking cooperation and diplomatic channels to solve the current conflict.