According to the latest information, the Libyan government backing Haftar stated that it is starting talks with Greece on the delimitation of the maritime zones between the two states. This is an extremely positive development, as a demarcation agreement between Greece and Libya will put a final tombstone in the Ankara-Tripoli memorandum. Lately, Greek diplomacy and deterrence strategy seem to be following a steady course, fully awake and dynamic.
The signing of the EEZ with Italy, the partial demarcation with Egypt as well as the departure of the Greek fleet in the Aegean, twice within a month (!), demonstrate this. However, there is no denying the fact that Greece continues to act retroactively like a fire brigade.
History is not written with “if”s, but the demarcation of the EEZ with Libya could have taken place months, if not years earlier. Turkey’s intentions were clearly stated and articulated, through the mouth of the Turkish Navy Chief of Staff Jihad Yaici, even before Erdogan posed with the maps of the “blue homeland”. The author had referred in detail to the above as early as July 2019, as well as to the opportunity given to Greece with what was transpiring at the time on the Libyan front. It would be an agreement with an actor formally unrecognized internationally, but it would be governed and implemented in strict compliance with the principles of the international law of the sea.
Suddenly, but not unexpectedly, the Turks threw down the gauntlet, making the first move with the eponymous memorandum with Sarraj’s Government of the National Agreement. Although it is an agreement with the internationally recognized government of Libya, it is blatantly violating international law.
It is worth noting that, most likely, the necessary agreement with Egypt would have been more balanced if its signing was not linked to the need for the practical annulment of the Ankara-Tripoli memorandum, as this primarily affects the Greek and not so much the Egyptian interests.
The time is coming
As for the big picture, the course of developments, as well as the attitude of the various players, shows that the time for sharing the pie in the Eastern Mediterranean is approaching. It is true that Turkey is coasting on the path of escalation, in part for reasons of prestige, but mainly due to the initiatives of the Greek side. Characteristic is the fact that the front of the confrontation has been transferred from Evros and the Aegean to the depths of the Eastern Mediterranean.
On the other hand, as the details of the Cairo agreement are revealed, it seems that the prospect of delimiting the EEZ between Greece and Cyprus is moving away (?) due to the apparent reduced influence of Kastellorizo. Was this a necessary compromise? Maybe. But everything is a matter of time.
Turkey’s biggest fear is its confinement in the Gulf of Antalya, which in turn arises from the EEZ of the Megisti complex. Hence the exit of Oruc Reis in that area. It is more than clear that if Greece allows the Turkish faits accomplis, it will have lost its strongest negotiating card.
The situation is critical, requiring composure and determination. The behavior of the neo-Ottomans, from the blasphemy concerning the Hagia Sophia to the references to an “alliance of evil” leaves little room for doubt. Even the most “tolerant” towards Turkey forces are gradually realizing that this is a destabilizing, anti-Western and revisionist force.