The EU has warned Turkey of new sanctions unless progress is made in reducing tensions
Pope Francis has expressed concern over the tension among Eastern Mediterranean Sea nations as they fight over the vast gas and oil deposits discovered a decade ago.
“I follow with concern the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said on Aug. 30 without naming nay country involved in the conflict.
Pope Francis prayed to end the “instability” in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during his Angelus, the Vatican News reported.
“I appeal for constructive dialogue and respect for international law in order to resolve the conflicts that threaten the peace of the peoples of that region,” he added.
Tensions between eastern Mediterranean nations like Greece and Turkey have increased recently. They are fighting over the vast gas, and oil deposits discovered a decade ago.
The gas at stake is pegged at 3.5 trillion cubic meters, which would put the region on a par with Venezuela and Nigeria.
Flare-ups in the Eastern Mediterranean region are nothing new between NATO allies and neighbors Greece and Turkey. They are fighting over a range of issues since the 1970s.
The tension between Ankara and Athens escalated after Aug. 10 with the deployment of the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis.
The EU has warned Turkey of new sanctions unless progress is made in reducing tensions.
Greece alleges that Turkey is staking a claim on oil and gas deposits in waters off Crete that it says falls within its exclusive economic zone.
Turkey’s ambition is to become a global player and a prime voice in the Islamic world to shape the region according to its vision.
This year, a maritime border pact signed by Turkey with Libya is aimed at showing Ankara’s clout in regional energy plans.
European Union member states like Greece and Cyprus have repeatedly asked Turkey to give up its bullying tactics and play by the rules.
Turkey has also intervened in the UN-backed Libyan government’s affairs by mounting a kind of proxy drone war in Libya’s skies with the help from the UAE.
The Libya conflict has turned Turkey against Egypt. The ties become cold after the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt – seen as a fraternal regime by the Turks.