Abstract: The Eastern Mediterranean is one of the hottest issues that has occupied the agenda of both international security and politics lately. The intense competition has entered a new phase with some recent developments and regional competition is rapidly transforming from a matter of overlapping sea claims and natural resources to a more general geopolitical and strategic confrontation.  Turkey and Greece are the two major competitors in this drama and both actors have already declared their ‘maximalist’ positions about their rights, interests and expectations in the Eastern Mediterranean to the international community, especially the UN. The de-escalation discourse of NATO and EU allies of the two sides is overshadowed by a number of biased statements, increasing tenisons and the possibility of conflict. Nevertheless, the success lies in diplomacy and expanding alliances. The parties need to get together, restart high level joint meetings to strengthen confidence building measures in order to move forward, and make the energy resources a positive game changer.

Introduction

The long-simmering competition in the Eastern Mediterranean has entered a new phase as 1- recently signed new maritime delimitation agreements, NAVTEX and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) announcements, 2- high-pitched political statements and 3- increasing military exercises have raised the temperature between NATO allies. Regional competition is rapidly transforming from a matter of sharing sea areas and newly discovered natural resources to a more general geopolitical and strategic confrontation. While both Turkey and Greece, the two major actors in this drama, are currently acting in a controlled manner to pursue their goals in this region, their uncompromising diplomacy can result in escalation and conflict very quickly, especially in an environment where historical grievances continue to dominate public discourse. The main issue on the current agenda has become whether this quarrel will be transformed into a conflict with the encouragement and involvement of regional and global actors. Turkey has, from the beginning, attempted to resolve the issue bilaterally with Greece without outside influence.  This runs counter to Greece’s efforts to solve the issue which has included involving newly established regional alliances as well as the EU in order to internationalize the issue.